Tight End Erik Swoope Signs Exclusive Rights Tender

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INDIANAPOLIS —A knee injury ended Mo Alie-Cox’s promising second NFL season before it ever could get started.

And with that issue now behind him, the athletic tight end is ready to add his flavor to a talented position group in Indy.

The Indianapolis Colts announced today that Swoope has signed his exclusive rights tender, officially keeping him with the team for the 2018 season.

Swoope was signed by the Colts in the 2014 offseason after having never played organized football. A basketball player at the University of Miami, many believed his athleticism could translate well to being an NFL tight end, as had previously been the case with guys like Antonio Gates and former Colt Marcus Pollard.

Swoope spent his first two years with the Colts on the practice squad, and made his NFL debut for Indy in its 2015 regular season finale. By the next year, he had moved up to the No. 3 tight end, and in 16 games, with four starts, he logged 15 receptions for 297 yards and one touchdown.

But after the team traded its top tight end, Dwayne Allen, to the New England Patriots and then signed its previous backup, Jack Doyle, to take over starting spot shortly thereafter, the No. 2 job was all Swoope’s. After a productive offseason training program and start of training camp, however, it was determined Swoope needed to undergo a procedure to clean up his knee.

Swoope was placed on Injured Reserve at the beginning of the regular season, and although he was later able to get back on the practice field as one of the team’s potential return-from-IR candidates, the coaching staff did not feel he was back to 100 percent by the time it faced a deadline to either move him to the active roster or revert him to IR for the rest of the season, opting for the latter.

Now back in the mix for 2018, however, Swoope is one of several talented playmakers who could be counted on at the tight end position for the Colts, who return Doyle — who is coming off his first-career Pro Bowl selection — but have also signed free agent Eric Ebron, a former first-round pick by the Detroit Lions.

Others on the offseason roster at the tight end position include youngsters Darrell Daniels, Ross Travis, Jason Vander Laan and Mo Alie-Cox, none of whom are older than 25.

Swoope is the second of four Colts exclusive rights free agents to sign back with the team for 2018. On March 14, the Colts tendered Swoope, cornerback Chris Milton, long snapper Luke Rhodes and guard Jeremy Vujnovich.

Rhodes signed his tender earlier today.

Exclusive rights free agents are players with two or fewer accrued years of NFL experience whose contracts are expiring. Their original team must tender the player by the league’s new year (which was at 4 p.m. ET on March 14), or the player becomes a free agent. If tendered, however, the team has exclusive rights to that player for the upcoming season, and then it’s up to the player to sign that tender offer.

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