INDIANAPOLIS – Just as the Colts defense gets healthy, the unit was dealt some unexpected news on Tuesday morning.
The team announced that OLB-Trent Cole was going on injured reserve.
Cole had a back injury earlier in the season, missing Week Two's game in Denver, but did play 31 snaps last Sunday against the Chargers.
Even after Sunday's win, Cole sent out the following tweet: "What a great team win tonight! It's was great to get back playing with the team after not playing last week. #ColtsWin #colts #ColtsNation"
Chuck Pagano said Cole aggravated the back injury on Sunday and the injury might require surgery.
Even though Cole is on injured reserve, it does not necessarily mean his 2016 season is finished. The Colts could still use the "designated to return" tag on Cole. In 2016, teams do not have to specify whom they will use the IR to return tag on. That player must be on IR for at least eight weeks though.
Without Cole, the Colts will be using more of Akeem Ayers and Curt Maggitt in backup roles behind Robert Mathis and Erik Walden.
Ayers has played 39 snaps this season. Maggitt has logged 30 snaps (27 of those coming in Week Two, when Cole was out).
"(Cole) gives us so much in both the run and pass game," Pagano said on Tuesday. "You can't replace guys like Trent Cole."
When asked Tuesday about Ayers, Pagano expanded on the former second-round pick.
"(Ayers) is an interesting guy," Pagano said. "He has come in and learned the scheme and picked it up extremely fast. He is a smart guy, athletic guy, can play in space, has pass rush ability.
"He is a part of our third-down sub package that Coach (Ted) Monachino and the rest of the guys have put together. He gives you a nice blend of height, weight, speed and athleticism."
The Colts do now have an open spot on their 53-man roster.
Seventh-round pick Trevor Bates is currently on the practice squad and is an option at outside linebacker.
Remember, the Colts head to London on Thursday, so whoever is signed will have to be brought up to speed quicker than normal.