INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who was listed as doubtful for today's Week 4 matchup against the Oakland Raiders at Lucas Oil Stadium, is officially inactive for the game.
Defensive end Jabaal Sheard, meanwhile, is active for the first time this season.
Others who are inactive for the Colts include: tackle/guard Le'Raven Clark, tight end Hale Hentges, safety Malik Hooker, linebacker Darius Leonard, defensive tackle/end Tyquan Lewis and running back Jonathan Williams.
Hilton re-aggravated a quad injury late in the second quarter of last Sunday’s win over the Atlanta Falcons and did not return to the game. He had been a limited participant in all three practices leading up to the Atlanta game and was labeled as questionable heading into the matchup, but was able to log eight catches for 65 yards and his league lead-tying fourth touchdown reception of the year before exiting.
While Hilton did not participate in any of the Colts’ three practices leading into this Sunday’s game against the Raiders — usually a clear indication of a player that will be ruled out by Friday — he has proven to be the exception to the rule when it comes to remaining effective on gamedays despite not practicing while nursing injuries. Accordingly, the team initially labeled Hilton as doubtful on Friday before placing him on the inactives list today.
“Yeah, he’s a rare exception to those things that you can consider those things,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said of Hilton and his ability to remain productive at times when he’s not practicing much — or at all. “With some guys you might not consider that, but with him that’s always a consideration.”
With Hilton, the Colts’ top receiver, officially ruled out, the Colts turn to the remaining five receivers to step up against Oakland. Deon Cain, Parris Campbell, Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers have all logged several snaps through three games this season, while the team on Friday announced it had elevated undrafted rookie Ashton Dulin to the active roster from the practice squad.
“I think we’ve had a little bit more depth early, coming out of camp going into that first game with six receivers active, which is a little bit unique,” Reich said of how the depth has evolved at the wide receiver position in Indy. “When Devin (Funchess) went down, it was like, ‘OK, that’s a blow, but OK, we still got five active.’ We will see how it plays out here with T.Y. But we have a lot of confidence in these guys. These young guys are stepping up and are ready to go.”
Jabaal Sheard was among those not listed on today’s inactives list, meaning the Colts’ defensive end could be making his 2019 debut against the Raiders.
Sheard returned to practice for the first time in nearly two months Sept. 18 after experiencing “soreness and swelling” in his knee during the very first training camp practice on July 25, which was followed up with a minor surgical procedure.
The team decided against placing Sheard on injured reserve to open the regular season, which would’ve resulted in him missing at least the first eight weeks; he has since missed the Colts’ first three regular season games against the Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons. Sheard has been a limited participant in practice since his return, including all three days leading up to today’s Raiders matchup.
Sheard’s potential return today not only puts one of the Colts’ defensive leaders back on the field, but gives the unit one of the best run defenders in the league; his 7.6 run stop percentage — plays in which he’s earned a “stop,” or a “loss for the defense,” according to Pro Football Focus — ranked 11th among all eligible NFL edge defenders in 2018.
Rookie cornerback Marvell Tell III is also active for the first time in his career today against Oakland. Starting cornerback Pierre Desir, while active, was labeled as questionable heading into today's matchup.