The Indianapolis Colts today waived wide receiver Griff Whalen from their injured reserve list, making him a free agent. Whalen was originally placed on injured reserve on December 21 with fractured ribs. Whalen was injured late in the team's game against the Houston Texans, where he caught a pass and then was hit very hard by a Texans defender, jarring the ball loose and fracturing Whalen's ribs.
Whalen played in 14 games for the Colts this season and caught 19 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown (averaging 10.8 yards per catch), returned 12 punts for an average of 7.1 yards per return, and returned nine kickoffs with a 27.1 yard average. Whalen is a very solid depth player and is capable of helping the team in a number of areas, and his receiving ability was rather underrated this year. For a number four or five wideout, Whalen is a nice guy to have around. At the same time, however, all anyone will remember from this year when it comes to Whalen is the fake punt fiasco in the team's loss to the Patriots, as Whalen was the center on the play who snapped the ball when he shouldn't have.
In his career, Whalen has played in 35 games (starting four) for the Colts (including postseason) after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford in 2012. He has caught 52 passes for 580 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 11.2 yards per reception. He also returned 46 punts for an average of 8.2 yards per return and 25 kickoffs while averaging 25.8 yards per return.
The fact that Whalen was waived from injured reserve means that he is no longer with the team at all. There could be a couple reasons why the Colts could choose to do this, as the timing seems rather strange - with just two days remaining in the team's season. If a player on injured reserve is healthy or will become healthy shortly (before the season is over), the team will release him from IR in order to let him try to find a spot somewhere else. For example, you may remember the Colts waiving-injured running back Boom Herron earlier this year and then the back reverting to the Colts' injured reserve. They then waived him from their injured reserve list so that, whenever Herron was healthy, he could try to sign elsewhere. It's possible the Colts are doing this with Whalen, for the small chance that he can land on a team in the playoffs. That's one possible reason. Another one (and perhaps a more likely explanation) is simply this: we know a lot of change is coming in Indianapolis, so this simply could be seen as getting a small head start on that change. Whatever the reason is behind waiving Whalen, he is now a free agent.