The Indianapolis Colts today announced that they have officially released wide receiver LaVon Brazill, who was recently suspended for at least a year for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. To replace him, the Colts have signed wide receiver Aaron Burks, an undrafted receiver out of Boise State.
Brazill was drafted by the Colts in the sixth round of the 2012 draft and, despite having potential and showing it at times, Brazill struggled to get playing time and struggled to maintain consistency. More than that, however, he struggled with drugs and was recently suspended for at least a year for violating the league's substance abuse policy. In 25 games with the Colts over the past two years, Brazill caught 23 passes for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns, as well as 7 passes for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns in 3 postseason games. Many fans will remember his touchdown catch against the Lions in 2012 to contribute to that comeback or his two-touchdown game against the Bengals last year or in the playoffs his two-touchdown game against the Patriots. The talent was there for Brazill, but the inconsistency and suspensions loomed much larger. He was a bubble player anyway before he was suspended this year.
Now the question might come up about how the Colts are showing a "double standard" by cutting Brazill yet pledging their support for Jim Irsay. But I think that's just people trying to stir things up and make something out of this that just isn't there, and here's why: this is still a business. LaVon Brazill was inconsistent and was on the bubble of getting cut anyway for those reasons, and then you add in the fact that he won't be around the team for a whole year and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the team to keep him. Jim Irsay was a proven contributor long before his arrest and he will remain an important contributor. LaVon Brazill? He's had 23 catches in 2 years and despite his talent was on the verge of getting cut anyway. The only thing similar about Brazill's situation is that I hope he gets the help he needs just like Irsay did (for different reasons) and I guarantee you the Colts do too. But the Colts can support Brazill without having to keep him on the team, and making a huge deal out of this is completely ignoring the business side of things and the fact that the Colts are tying to build the best team they possibly can.
As for the guy who the team signed to replace Brazill, he's a long shot at making the roster. Originally signed by the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Boise State, he was waived after mandatory minicamp before being signed by the Colts. The 6-3, 205 pound receiver played in 11 games for Boise State last year (starting 3) and caught 18 passes for 309 yards (17.2 yards per reception) and 3 touchdowns. In his junior season he played in all 13 games (starting 2) and caught 17 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown. As a sophomore he caught 6 passes for 57 yards and as a freshman he caught 6 passes for 58 yards. He's got the looks of a "camp body" signing, and while we won't rule out his chances, he'll have a long way to go to climb the depth chart to earn a roster spot at a position that is pretty deep for the Colts, even without Brazill.