The Indianapolis Colts are continuing to tweak their roster and practice
squad heading into the last five weeks of the regular season. In addition to
adding veteran wide receiver Ricky Proehl to the roster and placing defensive
tackle Montae Reagor on the non-football injury reserved list, the Colts filled
the practice squad vacancy they created a day earlier through the release of cornerback
Dennis Davis. Taking his place is former Jets fullback Luke Lawton.
Yep, you read it right. The Colts added a real, honest-to-goodness fullback
to their roster.
Last week at Colts.com following the team's first loss of the season, Colts president Bill Polian was asked why the Colts
didn't run the ball on a 3rd-and-2 at the Dallas 8-yard line that resulted in a red zone possession with no points -- in a game that Indianapolis lost by a touchdown.
"...If you had (former Steelers running back) Jerome Bettis, for
example, it might be something you would try, but Joseph Addai’s 215 pounds,
not 260 pounds," he explained. "Do we need perhaps – in the
future – a short-yardage goal-line back? Sure, we could use one, but if you
don’t have that guy, then you take what the defense dictates to you, which is
to throw the ball.
"...I’m thinking more of the Bus (Bettis) or
somebody like that. (Larry) Kinnebrew, in the old days in Buffalo – he was an
automatic first down ...some guy like that, 250 pounds who just goes in there
and blasts people out of the way. If you have that fellow, your red zone offense
becomes a lot better."
Luke Lawton isn't quite 250 pounds, nor is he a
household name yet like Bettis. But at 237 pounds, he brings more than 20 pounds
of extra weight and punch to the Colts running back corps than Joseph Addai to help him deal with an overloaded box of defenders in short-yardage situations. And he brings more than 30 pounds to the situation than Dominic Rhodes or Dede Dorsey.
Lawton was an undrafted free agent who signed with
Buffalo in 2004 out of McNeese State, but he was released in the team's final
round of cuts. That move put in motion a barrage of signing and releases not
uncommon for undrafted free agents these days. By the end of 2004, he had spent
time on the Giants and the Bills practice squads. Then Atlanta signed him in
January, but by May he was back with the Giants, who have a well-established
fullback in former Colt Jim Finn.
Towards the end of training camp, Lawton suffered a
broken nose that required surgery, and the Giants waived him less than a week
later. The Jets scooped him up and signed him to their practice squad when they
assembled their group in early September. It was the break Lawton had been
working towards as it led to a promotion to the active roster for four games
from mid-November to mid-December.
But Lawton was released by the Jets in mid-July this year and
has been looking for a new opportunity ever since. And his hard work and
patience may be rewarded by getting a shot at becoming a short-yardage
specialist with a team that currently has the best record in the NFL.
ColtPower's Jerry Langton will provide our Insiders
with a scouting report on Lawton this week, sharing his insight on what Lawton's
strengths and weaknesses, and what he brings to the table with his arrival in