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Colts Release Rookie Tight End Justice Cunningham

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The Colts released their seventh round pick, tight end Justice Cunningham (a.k.a. Mr. Irrelevant) today to make room for newly acquired linebacker Cam Johnson.

Michael Hickey

It's not a time right now to be a 2013 Colts draft selection.  First seventh round running back Kerwynn Williams was released yesterday, and then earlier this morning sixth round safety John Boyett was arrested.  Now, seventh round tight end Justice Cunningham was released.

Cunningham was the third tight end on the Colts "final" 53-man roster after the final cut downs on Saturday, and that didn't surprise anyone.  But then yesterday the team signed a tight end, Jack Doyle, who is a good blocker and who people are really high on.  I thought that he may surpass Cunningham on the depth chart, and indeed he has.  In fact, Cunningham is no longer even on the depth chart.

After the Colts' traded a conditional seventh round pick to the 49ers for outside linebacker Cam Johnson earlier today, a move was needed to free up a roster spot.  That move was to release Cunningham.

Cunningham had a good camp and preseason and all along looked to have a spot on the team, so the fact that he isn't there anymore is kind of surprising, although after yesterday's signing it is much less so.  The release of Cunningham also could suggest that Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener will indeed be ready for Sunday's game, and the two practiced today as well.

Cunningham would seem like an obvious choice to go to the practice squad, but I'm actually not sure it will happen.  The Colts only have one practice squad spot left after signing receiver Da'Rick Rogers to the PS earlier this morning (a move I loved, by the way).  The real question likely will be whether Kerwynn Williams clears waivers or not.  If he does, I bet he fills the final spot on the practice squad.  If he is claimed and Cunningham indeed clears waivers, it probably would be his spot.

Complicating matters further is the fact that the Colts already have a tight end on the practice squad in Dominique Jones, a player who also impressed in preseason.  Would they keep two tight ends on the practice squad?  Would they waive Jones from the practice squad?  Or would they let Cunningham walk? I'm not sure the answer, but it will be interesting to see how it develops.

Of course, first Cunningham has to clear waivers, something that isn't a sure thing to happen either.

UPDATE [5:29 P.M.]: Lesson to Josh - if the Colts email a press release while you're writing, you should probably read it, even if you know what it's about.  At the same time they announced that Justice Cunningham was officially waived, they also announced that they have signed rookie running back Kerwynn Williams to the practice squad.  So that fills the practice squad, meaning that Cunningham is left off of it.  The only question is whether if he clears waivers, the team will release someone to make room for him.  That remains to be seen, but the practice squad, as of now, is full with Williams taking the final spot.