Carson Wentz Activated from COVID-19 List, Cleared to Play for Colts vs. Raiders

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IV

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) looks to throw against the Arizona Cardinals during an NFL football game Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
AP Photo/Darryl Webb

The Indianapolis Colts will have their starting quarterback available against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

Head coach Frank Reich confirmed Sunday morning that Wentz was cleared to play:

StaceyDales @StaceyDales

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colts?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Colts</a> HC Frank Reich just confirmed to me that Carson Wentz has been medically cleared to play this afternoon against the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Raiders?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Raiders</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nflnetwork</a>

The Colts announced Saturday that they activated Carson Wentz from the reserve/COVID-19 list. 

It was initially thought that Indy would be without the unvaccinated Wentz after he was placed on the COVID-19 list Tuesday. However, with the NFL altering its protocols after the CDC changed its isolation recommendation from 10 days to five days for those who test positive for COVID-19, Wentz getting activated before Sunday's game became a possibility.

Had Wentz been ruled out against Las Vegas, the Colts would have had to turn to rookie quarterback Sam Ehlinger for his first career start.

While much of Indianapolis' success this season has been fueled by MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor and a talented defense, Wentz has resurrected his career with the Colts.

The Philadelphia Eagles made Wentz the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, and he was leading the MVP conversation in 2017 before getting injured.

However, his time with the Eagles ran its course last season. Wentz threw for just 2,620 yards, 16 touchdowns and an NFL-high 15 interceptions in 12 starts last season, posting a 3-8-1 record.

He lost his starting job to Jalen Hurts, and the Eagles decided to trade Wentz to the Colts during the offseason.

Wentz reunited with Colts head coach Frank Reich, who was previously the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, and the combination has been successful once again in Indianapolis.

Wentz has started all 15 games this season, going 9-6 and completing 62.8 percent of his passes for 3,230 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions.

The Colts may have been able to beat the Raiders without Wentz by simply pounding the rock with Taylor, but Ehlinger's inexperience also could have cost Indy.

While the Colts need the Tennessee Titans to lose out in order to have a chance to win the AFC South, they need only to beat the Raiders on Sunday to clinch a playoff berth.

If Wentz plays and limits mistakes like he has all season long, the Colts have a great opportunity to reach the postseason for the second straight year.