The Indianapolis Colts today activated outside linebacker Trent Cole from injured reserve to the active roster and waived quarterback Stephen Morris.
Cole has been on IR for most of the season but was designated to return by the Colts, so he was participating in practice this week and getting back up to speed. Defensive coordinator Ted Monachino indicated today that Cole might be ready to go for Monday night’s game, and today’s roster move seemingly confirms that, since the Colts had a three-week roster exemption to use for Cole if need be. So in other words there’s really no reason to activate him unless he’s ready to play, so he’ll likely be back on Monday night against the Jets.
That comes at a good time too, as outside linebacker Robert Mathis is dealing with a bicep injury and his status is uncertain for the upcoming game (so the Colts could replace one ineffective veteran pass rusher with another). At this point the team needs to do whatever they can to try to get a spark in the area of pass rush, so having guys like Erik Walden, Akeem Ayers, Robert Mathis, and Trent Cole on the roster means that hopefully one or two of them will be able to get to the quarterback once or twice a game.
Cole played in two games this year before being placed on IR with a back injury, and in those two games he recorded three tackles. Last year with the Colts he played in 14 games (five starts) and racked up 32 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and three passes defensed. Though he hasn’t been particularly effective since joining the Colts, Cole has had a good career and has recorded 88.5 sacks and 21 forced fumbles in 171 career games. The Colts are hoping that Cole will be able to achieve more success upon his return than he did before his injury, but it’s probably best not to expect too much from him right away on Monday night.
In related news, the Colts waived Stephen Morris to make room on the roster for Cole, which is perhaps the surest sign yet that Andrew Luck will be ready to go against the Jets. Morris has spent the entire season on Indy’s practice squad and will almost certainly end up back there if he clears waivers, but he was promoted last week to backup Scott Tolzien against the Steelers. The fact that he’s now been cut suggests that Luck will return to the lineup. We don’t know yet whether he’s met with and been cleared by an independent neurologist, but that’s the final step remaining before he’s officially cleared from the concussion protocol.