Ever since Delano Howell left practice one day in training camp and it was said to be a neck issue, concerns were raised in my head. After all, it was a neck injury last year that forced him to be placed on injured reserve, and neck injuries aren't something to mess with.
According to a recent report from the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder, those concerns may be legitimate.
Just had talk w GM Ryan Grigson. Getting some bad vibes on Delano Howell's neck injury. Seeing multiple docs. Future uncertain. Story coming— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) August 19, 2014
This would have significant impact on the position battle at strong safety, giving Mike Adams the likely edge there.— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) August 19, 2014
While it's crucial to note that this is just reports and speculation right now, it certainly does give some reason for concern surrounding Delano Howell. And, as Holder noted, it certainly does change the look of an already questionable safety position.
He played in the first preseason game this year against the Jets, getting the start and then rotating in and out, recording 2 tackles. Last year, Howell was perhaps the most impressive Colts safety when he started, starting 3 games and playing in 6. Howell recorded 19 tackles and a pass deflection, and while he wasn't a star or anything, he was solid, and that's really what the Colts needed last year. This year, he was likely to be the starter, though he wasn't guaranteed of anything.
In his absence, Mike Adams has stepped up as the first team safety, and if Howell is out for any extended period of time, it'll most likely be Adams starting alongside LaRon Landry, as it was on Saturday night against the Giants. Also competing for the spot, however, are Colt Anderson and Sergio Brown, though it appears to be mainly a battle between Howell and Adams.
Right now, it appears that Mike Adams will be stepping in and starting for the Colts, but it's also important to remember that this is just speculation, even if it does cause reason for some concern.
[UPDATE:] This is from Holder's story, with a quote from general manager Ryan Grigson:
"Anytime there's anything with a neck, you've got to cross your t's and dot your i's," Grigson said. "That's a serious area. It's something that's been nagging him. He's going through the whole entire process of seeing multiple people so he can formulate that opinion with his wife and his agent, himself and all of us and make the decision that's best for Delano. He's seeing another specialist so we can pinpoint exactly what the problem is. Hopefully he's back out there playing for us soon."
Grigson stopped short of saying the neck issue is season- or career-threatening, but the Colts clearly are preparing for a range of possible outcomes.
[UPDATE 2:] The Star's Mike Chappell says there's reason for concern too:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Talking <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colts?src=hash">#Colts</a> with <a href="https://twitter.com/dandakich">@dandakich</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/mchappell51">@mchappell51</a> says Delano Howell injury is "real cause for concern."</p>— IndyStar Sports (@IndyStarSports) <a href="https://twitter.com/IndyStarSports/statuses/501769884699987969">August 19, 2014</a></blockquote>
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