Colts Center Hoping to Play; Team Signs Veteran Running Back Daven
INDIANAPOLIS – One of the most-tenured players on the Colts' roster very much wants to play Sunday, and likely will.
The newest player on the roster probably will play, too.
Jeff Saturday, the Colts' three-time Pro Bowl center who has missed the last two games with a calf injury, said on Wednesday he believes he has a chance to play Sunday when the Colts play host to the Detroit Lions.
"I'm doing good," Saturday said Wednesday afternoon as the Colts (9-4) prepared to play the Lions (0-13) at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis Sunday at 1 p.m. "I practiced some last week, so hopefully, we'll go the whole week this week and see how it turns out by the end of the week. I'll probably be able to go on Sunday. I'm hoping everything has progressed these last few days.
"We'll just see how it goes and go through three or four days of practice."
Said Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, "I think he will. He was very close last week. We actually went back and forth on the decision whether we should let him play or not.
"He will definitely practice. If he makes it through fine, he should be ready to go."
Saturday said although he very much wanted to play Sunday, the Colts' system for deciding if a player can return is a good one.
"It's probably for the best," Saturday said. "You have somebody who can take emotion out of it. As a player, it's hard to do that. They're looking more at the big picture than we probably are as players. You want to play every week, so it's probably best for your long-term health, but it's still never easy to hear that you're not going to go."
Saturday and Dungy discussed his status the same day the Colts announced the signing of running back Najeh Davenport, a seven-year veteran.
Davenport (6-feet-1, 247 pounds), originally a fourth-round selection in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, was waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 1. The Colts on Wednesday also announced they had released tight end Jamie Petrowski.
Davenport, who played collegiately at the University of Miami, has started three of 71 games in seven seasons, and has rushed for 1,793 yards and 13 touchdowns on 386 career carries.
He also has caught 50 passes for 484 yards and three touchdowns.
"He has some familiarity with our system," Dungy said. "(Former Colts quarterbacks coach) Bruce Arians was in Pittsburgh, so he knew a lot of the basics of it. He can return kicks and has been an outstanding kickoff return guy and a very good downhill runner. I think he's going to run fine for us and do well.
"You're always looking at this point in time for a guy who does have some experience with your system."
Davenport played for the Packers from 2002-2005, playing for the Steelers the past three seasons until his release.
He also has returned 84 kickoffs for a 22.5-yard career average, and with running back Joseph Addai and Chad Simpson each leaving the Colts' victory over Cincinnati this past Sunday with injuries, Dungy said Davenport currently is the team's second running back.
"We've got Joseph a little banged up, and Chad Simpson got a sprained ankle on his last kickoff return," Dungy said. "He may not be able to go, either. There's a chance Najeh could be playing right away. We'll get him up to speed as quickly as we can."
Simpson also had been handling the team's kickoff return duties the last four games, a role that was previously filled by rookie wide receiver Pierre Garcon.
Also on Wednesday, the Colts released their first injury report of the week, with Addai (shoulder), safety Antoine Bethea (not injury related-resting), middle linebacker Gary Brackett (fibula), defensive end Keyunta Dawson (hamstring), defensive tackle Eric Foster (neck), defensive end Dwight Freeney (not injury related-resting), linebacker Tyjuan Hagler (knee), cornerback Tim Jennings (not injury related-resting), linebacker Freddie Keiaho (abdomen), defensive end Robert Mathis (not injury related-resting), safety Bob Sanders (knee) and running back Chad Simpson (ankle) listed as not participating in practice.