The Colts signed running back Vashon Pearson on Wednesday to a one-year deal with a base salary of $235,000. Pearson was originally signed by Indianapolis in 2005 out of Mississippi following the NFL Supplemental Draft. He was released at the end of training camp, but has been on the team's practice squad a couple of times during the season.
The Colts also signed WR Dan Sheldon, a rookie out of Northern Illinois who was actually considered to be a low-round draft candidate earlier this year due to his returns skills. The 5-9, 180-lb speedster handles both kickoffs and punt returns and was invited to participate in last year's Combine. As a junior, he led the NCAA with a 22.7 average on punt returns, including three that were returned for touchdowns.
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Nicknamed "Seabiscuit" by his teammates, Sheldon earlier this year said he liked the name because Seabiscuit was "a small little horse that always seems to win in the end." A number of teams contacted him following the draft and he chose to go to Arizona because they had a vacancy at the punt returns specialist position. But Sheldon was released on September 3rd following training camp.
The Cardinals moved quickly to sign him to their practice squad the very next day. The Colts have now offered him a two-year deal with base salaries of $235,000 (2006) and $310,000 (2007). His signing could be a step towards gaining leverage in negotiations during the offseason with unrestricted free agent Troy Walters who currently handles the punt returns for Indianapolis. Or it could simply be a preliminary signal that the Colts will evaluate other talent options before even attempting to re-sign Walters.