The Indianapolis Colts placed outside linebacker Trent Cole on injured reserve last week, but it’s possible that he won’t be out for the entire season.
Someone asked Cole on Twitter today whether he’s done for the year or if there’s a chance he can come back, and he said that there’s “a chance to come back depending on recovery.”
Because of the NFL’s new rules regarding the designated for return part of injured reserve, teams no longer have to designate which player they want to bring back from IR at the time they place him on IR. Now, they can wait and see who’s healthy and evaluate it as the season goes on - meaning that when someone is placed on IR now, we don’t always know if it’s a season-ender.
In Cole’s case, he would be eligible to return to practice following the Colts’ week nine game against the Green Bay Packers if the team chooses to use the designated to return tag on him, but he wouldn’t be eligible to return to a game until after the team’s week twelve game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It would certainly seem that Trent Cole is a candidate to return if he gets healthy enough in time, as the Colts need as much “help” as they can get at pass rush. Cole recorded just three tackles and a tackle for loss in two games without notching a single quarterback hit (let alone a single sack), but with Robert Mathis also struggling the Colts might try to get as many options as possible with the hope that one of them makes a play or two. So if Cole is healthy enough later in the year, he’d be an option. He was placed on IR with a back injury, which head coach Chuck Pagano said Cole aggravated in the team’s week three game against the Chargers (it had caused him to miss the week two game against the Broncos). Pagano said at the time that Cole would “more than likely” need a procedure done on his back.
It’s just a minor note, because getting Cole back won’t solve the Colts’ pass rush problems. All it would do is give them another option to the group - and give Cole an opportunity to try to catch up to legendary wide receiver Reggie Wayne in career tackles with the Colts.