Johnson's Release Adds To Team's Woes
DT Ed Johnson (Getty Images)
DT Ed Johnson (Getty Images)
Editor, ColtPower.com
Posted Sep 10, 2008


Things went from bad to worse for Indianapolis Colts Wednesday. Three days after giving up 183 rushing yards in a loss to the Chicago Bears, the team decided to part ways with starting defensive tackle Ed Johnson, the biggest starter on the defensive line and perhaps the team's best run-stuffer. Up next? Sensational sophomore running back Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings.

Johnson was arrested for possession of marijuana early Wednesday morning in Hamilton County, north of Indianapolis, after being stopped for speeding.

“We will, effective tomorrow, waive defensive tackle Ed Johnson," team president Bill Polian said. "We consider every violation of a team rule or NFL policy on an individual case-by-case basis. If club discipline is appropriate, we consider the past record of the individual involved and the extent to which team rules were violated when imposing penalties.

"In this particular case, Ed was well aware that his past history required him to be in complete compliance with Club rules. He was repeatedly told this during the off-season. Along with his teammates, he was reminded as recently as yesterday of Coach Dungy’s rules of behavior. Unfortunately, he chose to violate those rules. Given the circumstances surrounding Ed’s original employment with the Colts, we feel in this case that we have no choice but to take this action.”


Ed Johnson's career with the Colts came to an abrupt end this week
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

The "circumstances" mentioned by Polian were in reference to his troubled career at Penn State — where he was expelled from school in 2005 and kicked off the team before the Nittany Lions' bowl game in 2006 — which led to him going undrafted in the first place.

Until Wednesday, Johnson seemed to be the best kind of NFL success story: an undrafted free agent that not only made the team, but ended up starting all 16 games as a rookie after Anthony McFarland was lost for the season in 2007.

The Colts have had great success with undrafted free agents over the last few years — 15 were on the 53-man roster for Sunday's game against Chicago — but they will have one less for Sunday's trip to Minnesota.

Tony Dungy promised Wednesday afternoon that discipline would be "swift" and the Colts didn't waste much time, issuing their press release around 8 p.m.

The Colts have just four other DTs on the 53-man roster and none on the practice squad. It's unclear if the Colts will attempt to sign a free agent defensive tackle or use the players they currently have on the roster — Darrell Reid, rookie Eric Foster or Daniel Muir. Muir has been with the team only since Sept. 1.

Defensive end Raheem Brock may be the most likely candidate for Johnson's spot, however. Brock was a starter at the tackle spot opposite Johnson last season. Keyunta Dawson is the starter there currently.

A look at Scout.com NFL Expert Adam Caplan's list of best available free agents reveals the following possibilities:

Rod Coleman — The Atlanta Falcons decided to go with younger players in his place. He's had his injuries but Coleman should have one more productive year left in him.

Ian Scott — He's had his share of injuries in the past two years but when healthy, Scott is a very serviceable third tackle.

Marcus Tubbs — The former first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks needs to prove he's over his injury problems.

Anthony McFarland — He's coming back from patella tendon surgery but the feeling is he'll be able to contribute to a team in a reserve role this season.

Alvin McKinley — He's started over 40 games in his career and is serviceable fourth tackle.

Tim Anderson

Michael Myers

La Juan Ramsey

Matthias Askew — A former fourth-round pick of the Bengals.

Ethan Kelley — Despite coming back from microfracture knee surgery, he's had at least three free agent visits so far this year.

Antonio Garay — He fits in as a fourth defensive tackle.

Ross Koloziej — He fits in as a fourth or fifth defensive tackle.

Russell Davis — He fits in as a fourth or fifth defensive tackle.

HARTZ'S HUNCH: The obvious choice here is McFarland, who helped the Colts win a Super Bowl just two seasons ago and would probably still be with the team if not for his injury in 2007. Don't be surprised if the Colts have put Booger through a workout this week to see if he can help them out.

There are also rumors of a possible reunification of Warren Sapp and Tony Dungy in Indianapolis, but rumors is probably all they are.

Sapp is currently retired and working as an analyst for "Inside the NFL on Showtime" where he was to make his debut Wednesday. He's also scheduled to appear on ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" staring Sept. 22.

"The Colts have the cap room to entice Sapp if they want to," Scout.com NFL Expert Ed Thompson said. "They're currently $8 million under the cap. Not sure if he wants to play, if he would, it would be for Dungy without a doubt, especially since it could mean a potential ring for one year of work."

Forsett Could Be A Fit:

The Colts also claimed running back Justin Forsett off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks Wednesday, according to The Seattle Times.

Forsett led the Seahawks in rushing in the preseason, carrying 46 times for 248 yards, an average of 5.4 yards per carry.

"I love Forsett as a running back and backfield option in the passing game, and I hated the cut," Doug Farrar, an analyst for FootballOutsiders.com and the editor of Seahawks.net, said. "He's potentially explosive in the stretch plays that Indy likes to use. Good inside speed, lateral agility, can read an outside play and cut well. I think [the Colts] got a steal there."

Ed Thompson agreed.

"Forsett is a good, solid talent," he said. "I'm really surprised the Seahawks took the chance on releasing him. He's got a good initial burst as a ball carrier, and nice hands out of the backfield. He could be a Kevin Faulk type of back in this league, ideal for third down situations when passing or running is an option."

For more from Farrar on Forsett at FootballOutsiders.com, click on this link.

Saturday Gives It A Go:

Just as the Colts lost a valuable lineman Wednesday, they got another one back on the other side of the ball, as All-Pro center Jeff Saturday fully participated in practice Wednesday, just a week after deciding not to undergo surgery that would have ended his season.

Tony Dungy said there's a chance Saturday could play against the Vikings Sunday.

“There is (a chance)," he said. "We’ll make him earn (the job) back. We’ll make him show us in practice that he’s still able to play at that level.”



Related Stories
Quick Hits: Seattle 29, Chicago 26 (OT)
 -by NorthwestFootball.net  Aug 17, 2008
Behind Enemy Lines: Seahawks-Bears, Part One
 -by NorthwestFootball.net  Aug 14, 2008
Battles Heating Up in Seahawks Backfield
 -by NorthwestFootball.net  Aug 11, 2008

PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION INCLUDES
> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> Free Agency &
   Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from ColtsDaily.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
RB Justin Forsett (profile)
DT Ed Johnson (profile)
[View My HotList]