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Report: Colts place safety Julian Blackmon on IR, sign safety Henry Black off Steelers’ practice squad

The Colts lose a key defensive piece for the final two games of the 2023 regular season.

NFL: Frankfurt Games-Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts have placed safety Julian Blackmon on IR and signed safety Henry Black off the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad, per multiple reports.

Blackmon exited Indianapolis’ Week 16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons with a shoulder injury, and now the third-year safety is set to miss the rest of the 2023 regular season after being placed on injured reserve.

Although Blackmon’s regular season is over, if Indianapolis were to make the playoffs, there is a chance he could return, per James Boyd, a Colts writer for The Athletic.

Blackmon has been a vital piece to the Colts’ defensive success this season, especially when creating turnovers. In total, Blackmon has recorded four interceptions to go along with 65 solo tackles and eight pass deflections.

The 25-year-old Blackmon is set to become a free agent this off-season. His injury further adds to the handful of injuries the Colts’ secondary has faced throughout this season, including losing starting cornerback Dallis Flowers to a torn Achilles early on in Week 4 and even rookie cornerback JuJu Brents missing an extended period of time with a lingering quad injury.

Losing Blackmon will certainly be felt by Indianapolis’ defense, and now one of the youngest secondaries in the NFL gets even younger for the final stretch of the regular season. The Colts will have to lean on the duo of Nick Cross and Rodney Thomas II in a major way going forward. Cross, specifically, played a career-high in total snaps when he replaced Blackmon in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta.

The Colts’ final two games of the regular season both come at home against the Las Vegas Raiders and Houston Texans, and their secondary is going to have to play a crucial and consistent role if the team wants to earn a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2020.