The Indianapolis Colts today announced that they are bringing back outside linebacker Justin Hickman, who signed a contract extension today. Hickman was an exclusive rights free agent, which means that, if the Colts offered him a deal, his only choices were to take the deal or leave football. He obviously choose the contract with the Colts, and he will be back in 2014. The terms of the contract have not yet been released.
Hickman was signed by Ryan Grigson early in his tenure from the Canadian Football League, where he racked up 144 tackles, 27 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries in three seasons. In three seasons playing at the college level at UCLA, Hickman totaled 95 tackles (31 for loss) and 19.5 sacks. He has been with the Colts for the past two seasons, playing in 12 games and notching 14 tackles. He missed the entire 2013 season due to foot injury suffered in the first preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.
Hickman had a very impressive training camp and preseason before he was injured and lost for the year in the game against the Bills. Hickman showed his versatility and ability to play both inside linebacker and outside linebacker and was looking to be a very good depth guy and backup for the Colts. In my opinion, he would have made the final 53-man roster had he still been healthy. I was impressed with what I saw in camp and in preseason.
This move is one that won't garner a lot of attention but that is a very solid move that needed to happen, especially since he was an exclusive rights free agent. He likely won't be competing for a starting spot but could provide valuable depth for the Colts. Hopefully he can stay healthy and build on the impressive camp that he had last year.
Additionally, the Colts also announced today that they promoted Brad White to assistant linebackers coach. White had spent the past two seasons as the Colts' defensive quality control coach.