After the Colts waived wide receiver Aaron Burks last night, the team then had two roster spots open on their 90-man roster. On their day off from practice today, they filled both spots. The Colts signed free agent linebacker Jonathon Sharpe and running back Phillip Tanner.
Sharpe took part in the 2014 Super Regional Combine in Detroit after playing at North Greenville University for two years. He notched 132 tackles (23.5 for loss), 5.5 sacks, and 3 picks (1 TD). Sharpe is a 6-0, 235 pound outside linebacker who worked out for the team back in June during the team's mandatory minicamp.
Tanner has spent the past three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, where he signed as an undrafted free agent out of Middle Tennessee State in 2011. In his three seasons with the Cowboys, Tanner, a 5-10, 208 pound back, rushed for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns on 56 carries. In addition, he has made 21 special teams tackles.
With the state of the Colts running back position and the discussion that has generated recently, the signing of Tanner is one that will certainly get people talking. While he's in no way guaranteed of making the roster or anything close, his work on special teams should help his chances. The bottom line is that with Vick Ballard out for the year with a torn Achilles, the uncertainty about Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw's health, the release of Chris Rainey for violating team rules, and then the injury to recently signed back Davin Meggett (for what was likely knee cramps in practice Monday), the running back position is a big question mark and a big concern. Dan Herron and Zurlon Tipton have looked good in camp so far early on, but even if they've really impressed the Colts too (it sounds like they have) the team still needed extra backs for camp and preseason. Thus the signing of Phillip Tanner. The Colts needed to sign a running back, and the hope with Tanner is that he'll provide competition. But either way, he'll be another back to take the load off of some of the guys like Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw in camp and preseason, both of whom the Colts are being careful about in terms of health.