Last week, Colts linebacker Jonathan Newsome was arrested for possession of marijuana, the second time in less than three weeks that police had been called to his house and a continuation of issues that he had off-the-field in college.
It appears as if the Colts have decided to release Newsome following the recent arrest. Newsome took to twitter to express thanks to the organization and give the clear implication that the team was parting ways with him, and the team has since confirmed that they waived him on Monday morning.
I would like to thank Coach Pagano, Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay and the entire Colts organization for the opportunity of a life time.— Jonathan Newsome (@JNEW_11) February 22, 2016
I learned alot during my time here in Indianapolis, becoming a better football player and person. I have made mistakes, but ive grown.— Jonathan Newsome (@JNEW_11) February 22, 2016
Somethings happen and I cant question God and his plan. Bottom line you have to stay the course and pray about it but never worry about it.— Jonathan Newsome (@JNEW_11) February 22, 2016
Thanks again to all of Coltsnation for rockin with me! This wont be the last time you see J New....— Jonathan Newsome (@JNEW_11) February 22, 2016
Newsome was drafted by the Colts in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Ball State despite some off-the-field concerns. He stayed out of trouble and had an impressive rookie season, however, as he played in 16 games (starting one) and recorded 28 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. He added another sack and forced fumble in the playoffs that year, giving plenty of reason for hope that he would continue to develop in his second season. That didn't happen, though, and instead he became nearly invisible. He played in 14 games and started two, but he recorded just 19 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and two passes defensed.
It's important to keep in mind that this likely isn't solely motivated by the recent arrest but that rather that was the final straw. The Colts drafted Newome knowing that he had some history of off-the-field concerns, so he likely was on a shorter leash. Then he had a good 2014 season and inspired hope, but his 2015 season was a disaster. The Colts were already down on him after the bad season he had - one in which he was a healthy scratch at times - and then this recent arrest didn't help the team grow more confident in him, thus the release.
The 25-year old linebacker will now be subject to waivers, though it's unclear whether any team will want to claim Newsome amidst his recent arrest, knowing he will now be in the league's drug protocol. It was an issue for him in college and now has popped back up in the NFL, so there's a level of risk involved for any team that does sign him. With that said, however, teams could be intrigued by his 2014 production and want to give him a chance; the question now becomes whether his 2015 production and recent arrest prevent them from doing so.