INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts have had the best offensive line in the NFL the past few weeks, and now it could be getting even better.
The Colts today designated tackle/guard Joe Haeg as their second and final player to return from injured reserve to the practice field, setting in motion a 21-day period in which the team could decide to move Haeg to the active roster or revert him to IR for the rest of the season.
The third-year North Dakota State product was placed on IR Sept. 28 after suffering an ankle injury in the Colts' Week 3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Haeg had started Indy's first three games of the season at right tackle.
Since that time, Haeg has been seen working off to the side with team trainers, with hopes that he could re-join the team at some point later in the season.
Colts head coach Frank Reich said last week Haeg was "getting close" to a possible return.
"He's making really good progress," Reich said.
If Haeg is eventually able to return to the active roster, he gives the Colts another versatile piece that can play all five positions up front.
A fifth-round (155th-overall) selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, Haeg that year started 14-of-15 games at three different positions (left guard, right guard and right tackle), becoming the first league rookie to start at three different spots dating back to 1998 (Kyle Turley).
Last season, Haeg competed in all 16 games with 15 starts at right tackle and right guard.
Haeg added center duties to his repertoire this past offseason, and was oftentimes seen working in with the second team at that spot during training camp and the preseason.
He could potentially be rejoining a Colts offensive line that has flourished the last few weeks. Quarterback Andrew Luck has not been sacked in four straight games, and Indy posted 200 rushing yards in back-to-back weeks (Week 7 against the Buffalo Bills and Week 8 against the Oakland Raiders) for the first time since the 1985 season.
The Colts now have utilized both of their return-from-IR spots for the 2018 season. Defensive tackle/end Tyquan Lewis on Oct. 24 was brought back to practice, and on Friday was officially moved to the active roster from IR.