It's been a busy 24 hours for the Indianapolis Colts front office, as it made final roster cuts and also took advantage of the franchise's spot on top of the waiver-claim list.
Because of their unique position, the Colts had the advantage of first pick of all qualified players who had been released by their teams.
Through press releases issued by the team, it was learned that the Colts parted ways with veteran long snapper and classic Colt Justin Snow. Snow's release was no surprise, given his age and expense, but Chuck Pagano went out of his way to praise the long-time special-teams performer:
One thing that I’ll say about Justin—obviously he’s been here for 12 years and played, I think, in 192 straight ball games—he is a fabulous human being, great guy, great player, done a lot of great things. [He] played in two Super Bowls, won a Super Bowl here, and through the whole process, I can’t thank Justin enough for being the man and type of person he is.
Nobody coached Matt [Overton] more than Justin did and helped him. In talking to Justin yesterday when he came in and we visited about the decision that we had to make and what direction we were going, he was a standup guy. He said, "I never really had an opportunity to have a mentor in place, and I know I always told myself if I had the opportunity, I would do it." And not only Matt, but all the special-teams guys and coaches across the board in all phases.
[Snow] is a pillar guy. He’s a Colt for life. This is home and will always be his home. I can’t thank him enough on a bunch of levels for what he’s done since I’ve been here and certainly since all the time he’s been here as a Colt.
That kind of effusive praise is rare for a long snapper, but Snow earned it with years of high-character service to his teammates.
In other moves, the Colts released Jeremy Ross, Darren Evans, Andre Smith, Mike Tepper, Zane Taylor, Steven Baker, Jason Shirley, Greg Lloyd, Kyle Miller, Hayworth Hicks, Jerry Brown, Latarrius Thomas, Chigbo Anunoby and Kashif Moore.
The Colts placed Deji Karim, James Aiono, Tim Fugger, Brandon King and Mike Newton on the waived-injured list. They also placed WR Jabin Sambrano and CB Korey Lindsey on injured reserve. Fugger was a seventh-round choice by the team in the 2012 draft but battled injuries all camp. Finally, George Foster was released from IR.
Indy followed up the first wave of cuts with a spate of waiver claims. They picked up safety Sergio Brown, offensive tackle Mike Person and nose tackle Martin Tevaseu.
To make room, they waived Jermale Hines, D.J. Johnson and Ty Nsekhe.
Safety, offensive line and nose tackle are all spots where the Colts lack adequate depth. None of the players they picked up are accomplished, but they should provide some degree of insurance in the event of injuries.
Of special note among the players who made the roster is quarterback Chandler Harnish, who played his way on to the roster in part with his fine effort against Cincinnati. The Colts did not want to expose him to waivers. Pagano said of him:
He put enough out there—his body of work, his resume that he put out there in the preseason. Obviously we felt good enough to draft Chandler based on what we saw coming out of college. I think that what he’s done in the preseason, we didn’t want to risk [losing him to another team]. He’s an up-and-coming guy, and he’s got all the Colts traits that you’re looking for and did a tremendous job for us...We didn’t want to risk losing Chandler.
Even after the wire pickups, the Colts roster is still exceedingly young and unaccomplished. In all, just 21 players remain on the final 53-man roster from last year's team, which went 2-14.
The lack of depth on the roster and concerns with injuries meant that questionable veteran talents like Donnie Avery and Mewelde Moore made the final cut. The Colts have talent at some key positions, but it drops off quickly.
All-Pro end turned linebacker Dwight Freeney also survived cuts. With the last-minute extension of the NFL trade deadline out to Week 8, it made little sense to dump him. Extended deadlines mean more buyers. The Colts are now committed to paying Freeney's full contract but could lessen the financial blow if they can find a buyer for him halfway through the season.
The Colts also signed the following players to the practice squad: Chigbo Anunoby, Jerry Brown, Hayworth Hicks, Kyle Miller, Kashif Moore and Latarrius Thomas.
This story will continue to be updated as more signings are announced.
UPDATE: Per Colts.com, the Colts have added D.J. Johnson to the practice squad.
UPDATE 2: Per Colts press releases, the team has signed Darrion Weems and Alvester Alexander to the practice squad. They released Latarrius Thomas from the practice squad.
All quotes and roster moves were provided by the Indianapolis Colts via press release.