Clayton Geathers

Darius Leonard Clears Concussion Protocol

Reigning defensive rookie of the year Darius Leonard has missed the past three Colts games, but the standout linebacker is on his way back. Frank Reich announced he cleared concussion protocol.

The Colts, who also announced starting safety Clayton Geathers is out of the protocol, had a Week 6 bye and will face the Texans in a pivotal AFC South matchup Sunday. Leonard suffered his concussion in Indianapolis’ Week 2 win against Tennessee.

Although Indianapolis managed to win two of its three games without Leonard, including a smash-mouth performance in Kansas City that featured a few key Colts absences, its defense will obviously be a more formidable unit with the burgeoning-star linebacker healthy. Leonard earned first-team All-Pro recognition as a rookie.

The Division I-FCS product dominated as a rookie, registering 163 tackles, seven sacks and four forced fumbles in 2018. He’s one of many Chris Ballard-era second-round picks to make an impact. A Ryan Grigson-era fourth-rounder, Geathers has struggled with injuries in his career but was one of a few Colts starters to re-sign this offseason. He only missed the Chiefs game due to his concussion.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Chiefs, Colts, Burfict, Allen

Although Tyreek Hill returned to practice this week, the Chiefs‘ offense will continue to operate without its premier wide receiver Sunday. The Chiefs ruled out Hill, but Damien Williams is expected to return to action, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Kansas City’s starting running back missed the past two games with a knee injury, leading to LeSean McCoy and second-year back Darrel Williams splitting time in the backfield. Damien Williams amassed 154 scrimmage yards and scored in the Chiefs’ divisional-round win over the Colts last season. Signs point to Hill returning in Week 6.

Shifting first to the team traveling to Missouri for this week’s Sunday-nighter, here’s the AFC’s latest:

  • Darius Leonard will miss his third consecutive game due to a concussion. Both Colts starting safeties will be out, with Clayton Geathers (concussion) joining Malik Hooker on the mend. Hooker is recovering from a knee injury. T.Y. Hilton got in a second straight limited practice, putting Indianapolis’ top wideout in line to return, but rookie receiver Parris Campbell underwent a procedure on his knee and will be out for an unknown time period, Mike Wells of ESPN.com notes. Campbell has played in each Colts game this season but missed preseason time with a hamstring malady.
  • The Bengals were expected to take their lumps this season. The Broncos‘ 0-4 start has surprised. But executives around the league are not anticipating a firesale for either franchise. “I agree they absolutely should be shopping players (ahead of the Oct. 29 trade deadline), but I have my doubts,” an NFL exec told CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. “We’re applying reason and logic, but I’m not sure those teams will fully embrace what needs to be done.” Denver, which did trade Demaryius Thomas before last season’s deadline, has standouts from its previous Super Bowl team on expiring contracts — Chris Harris and Emmanuel Sanders. The Bengals house veterans A.J. Green, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. But Green is still recovering from injury and the latter two are early into 2018 extensions.
  • Josh Allen logged a full practice Friday, putting the Bills‘ starter on a path toward returning Sunday against the Titans. Allen suffered a concussion against the Patriots. Matt Barkley would start if the Bills, who have a Week 6 bye, play it safe with their offensive centerpiece.
  • Vontaze Burfict faces a rest-of-the-season suspension that could well end his career. The polarizing Raiders linebacker’s appeal is scheduled for Tuesday, and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets his argument will be based around the lack of precedent for a 13-week suspension ensuing because of one hit. However, the NFL said in its letter to the oft-suspended linebacker this ban was issued for a pattern of on-field decisions, rather than merely his collision with Jack Doyle. This considered, Burfict’s argument may not be successful.

Injury Updates: McDonald, Smith, Cichy

The Steelers faced the Bengals on Monday night without the services of tight end Vance McDonald, who was ruled inactive due to a shoulder injury. On the plus side – the Steelers have already safeguarded for this with the acquisition of Seahawks TE Nick Vannett and they are not expecting a prolonged absence for McDonald.

Also, as of this writing, the Steelers are handling the Bengals with ease, so they are getting by just fine without McDonald in the interim.

Here’s the latest on some notable injuries around the NFL:

  • Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith received good news after his MRI and a return against the Jets in Week 6 is thought to be possible, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears. He’ll miss the club’s next game against the Packers, but it appears that this is not the typical 4-6 week high-ankle sprain – the Cowboys may get Smith back on the field sooner than expected.
  • Colts safety Clayton Geathers suffered a concussion against the Raiders and finds himself in the concussion protocol, according to coach Frank Reich (Twitter link via Mike Wells of ESPN.com). There’s no word on his timetable just yet, but the Colts may need to bolster the position, particularly as Malik Hooker continues to recover from a meniscus injury.
  • Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says linebacker Jack Cichy “could [miss] 2 to 4 weeks,” though his diagnosis is pending an MRI (Twitter link via the Bucs’ team website). That would be a welcome bit of news for Cichy, whose arm was twisted badly in Sunday’s win over the Rams.

AFC Notes: Colts, Jets, Browns, Titans

After two offseasons featuring extensive injury rehab, Malik Hooker has been a full-fledged participant in the Colts‘ latest program. Surgeries to repair hernia and hip issues delayed Hooker’s Colts work after the franchise used a first-round pick on him in 2017, and rehab from the ACL and MCL tears Hooker suffered that season sidetracked him last year. Nothing is impeding the third-year safety at the moment.

This is probably the best I’ve felt since I left college,” Hooker said, via Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “Probably even better than that. For me to finally be able to have a whole offseason to work my body, it’s been great.”

Hooker dealt with nagging hip and foot injuries, the former sidelining him for two regular-season games and the latter keeping him off the field for Indianapolis’ divisional-round loss in Kansas City. Hooker graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 14 overall safety last season, a marketed improvement from his seven-game rookie slate. A full offseason of work figures to benefit the ascending talent.

Here is the latest from the AFC, shifting first to the other Colts safety starter:

  • While Hooker is having a rare stretch free of injury talk, Clayton Geathers is resting after an offseason knee surgery. The fifth-year safety, who recently re-signed with the Colts, said (via Erickson) he underwent a “cleanup” procedure this year. Knee trouble plagued Geathers for much of last season, the defender categorizing it as “a battle” to make it to game days weekly. This marks the second straight offseason Geathers underwent knee surgery. Foot and neck problems have severely constrained the former second-round pick as well during his career. Geathers has not played more than 12 games in a season since 2015, but he said he is feeling better after this latest surgery.
  • The Jets wrapped up their Joe Douglas interview Sunday and, despite the Eagles executive being the favorite to land the vacant GM job, the team will follow through with its Champ Kelly meeting. The Bears’ assistant director of player personnel began his interview process by dining with Jets brass Sunday night, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets, before interviewing Monday. Kelly marks the last of the scheduled interviews, following Douglas, Seahawks co-player personnel director Scott Fitterer and Saints director of pro scouting Terry Fontenot in doing so.
  • If the Browns do end up trading Duke Johnson, they appear to have found a successor in second-year UDFA Dontrell Hilliard. Browns running backs coach Stump Mitchell praised Hilliard’s ability as a passing-down back and potential slot receiver — essentially Johnson’s role — and Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com believes the Browns are confident Hilliard could replace the veteran incumbent. She suggests the team could fetch a fifth-round pick for Johnson, long the subject of trade rumors, but notes Browns brass likely deems that too low a return. Hilliard played in 11 games last season, catching nine passes for 105 yards.
  • The left side of the Titans‘ offensive line appears set, with Rodger Saffold set to play in between Taylor Lewan and Ben Jones. As for the guard who lines up next to right tackle Jack Conklin, Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com tabs Kevin Pamphile as the favorite at this point. Pamphile started 35 Buccaneers games from 2014-17 and was a full-time first-stringer in ’16 and ’17. The former fifth-round pick started two Titans games last year. The Titans did use a Day 2 pick on a guard, No. 82 overall choice Nate Davis out of Charlotte.

Colts To Re-Sign Clayton Geathers

Clayton Geathers is finalizing a deal to return to the Colts, according to a source who spoke with Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star (on Twitter). Terms of the deal are not yet known for the 27-year-old. 

Geathers has dealt with multiple injuries throughout his four-year career in Indianapolis, but has been featured as a starter for three of those seasons. The Colts managed to reel him back in, despite interest from the Cowboys and Bucs.

Geathers played 853 snaps for the Colts last season, his most significant work sample, and ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 51 safety in the NFL. Prior to that, injuries limited the Central Florida product to 14 total games between the 2016-17 seasons.

The Colts have re-signed multiple 2018 starters — cornerback Pierre Desir, defensive lineman Margus Hunt, and guard Mark Glowinski — but each of those players was brought in by the Chris Ballard regime. Those guys may have been prioritized, but the Colts still found room for Geathers, a holdover from the Ryan Grigson era.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs Meeting With S Clayton Geathers

Clayton Geathers is going through his second free agent meeting of the week, traveling from Dallas to Tampa. The Buccaneers met with the UFA safety on Tuesday, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter).

Limited by injuries during his four-year career with the Colts, Geathers was a starter for most of his time in Indianapolis. While the Colts expressed interest in re-signing the former fourth-round pick, he is being allowed to test the second-wave market.

Geathers played 853 snaps for the Colts last season, his most significant work sample. Injuries limited the Central Florida product to 14 total games between the 2016-17 seasons. Pro Football Focus graded Geathers as the No. 51 safety last season. Geathers, 26, has yet to record an NFL interception.

The Colts have re-signed multiple 2018 starters — cornerback Pierre Desir, defensive lineman Margus Hunt and guard Mark Glowinski — but each of those players was brought in by the Chris Ballard regime. Ryan Grigson drafted Geathers, perhaps impacting the team’s decision to let him test free agency.

Tampa Bay is coming off another poor coverage season, ranking 26th in pass defense — a year after a last-place showing. The Bucs have already signed former Packers safety Kentrell Brice, potentially impacting their decision to add Geathers. Recent draftees Justin Evans and Jordan Whitehead comprise Tampa Bay’s top safeties presently.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys To Meet With Clayton Geathers

Free agent safety Clayton Geathers will visit the Cowboys on Monday, a source tells ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Geathers isn’t a household name – like one-time Cowboys target Earl Thomas – but he could be a quality addition to the team’s secondary. 

Geathers, 27 in June, started in all 12 of his games for the Colts last season. Over the course of four seasons with Indianpolis, Geathers appeared in 41 games (24 starts) and spent time at both safety spots. Last year, Geathers held down the strong safety position and recorded 89 tackles plus a forced fumble. Last year, Geathers graded out as the No. 51 safety in the NFL out of 93 qualified players, positioning him as a starting-caliber safety, albeit a lower-tier one.

Last year’s safety market was depressed, but high-priced deals for Thomas, Tyrann Mathieu, and others indicate that second-tier options such as Geathers could find decent short-term deals. At minimum, guys like Geathers shouldn’t have to wait around until the fall like Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, and others did in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Rumors: Doyle, Geathers, Brissett

The Colts will likely be without tight end Jack Doyle for the bulk of the offseason, GM Chris Ballard told reporters on Wednesday. Doyle, of course, missed significant time in the 2018 season thanks to a hip injury and finished out the year on IR thanks to a kidney injury that required surgery.

In six games last year, Doyle caught 26 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Eric Ebron picked up the slack with 66 grabs for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Colts hope to have both players in the mix in two tight end sets, but if Doyle misses time, they have a deep TE unit to draw from including the recently re-signed Ross Travis and former basketball player Mo Alie-Cox.

Here’s more from Indy:

  • The Colts want to re-sign safety Clayton Geathers, GM Chris Ballard says (Twitter link via Mike Chappell of FOX 59). Geathers, 27 in June, amassed 89 tackles and three passes defensed as the Colts’ starting strong safety. However, he missed four games and earned a so-so 67.4 score from Pro Football Focus, positioning him as just the 51st best overall safety in the NFL.
  • Geathers, cornerback Pierre Desir, and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman will be allowed to test the market in March, even though there is interest in bringing each player back, Stephen Holder of the Indy Star (on Twitter) hears. Holder adds that safety Matthias Farley will likely be tendered and should return to the squad in 2019.
  • The Colts are still exploring backup quarterbacks and those conversations almost led them to signing Calgary Stampeders QB Bo Levi Mitchell recently, Holder hears (Twitter link). Still, Holder does not expect those conversations to have any direct impact on Jacoby Brissett‘s status for the coming year. The Colts say they’re not shopping Brissett, but if they do, they should find a decent market for his services.

Injury Updates: Patriots, Colts, Lions, Redskins

The final injury reports for Week 7 came out earlier today, and there was a lot of news. Lots of key players will be missing their team’s games, while others will be returning after extended absence. One notable rule-out was the Patriots declaring that starting right tackle Marcus Cannon would miss their game against the Bears. It’s a big loss for New England, especially in a week where they have to go up against Khalil Mack. Mack will now be lining up across from a backup tackle, and could end up making life miserable for Tom Brady.

Here are more injury updates from around the league:

  • The Colts have been the most injured team in recent memory the past few weeks, but are finally getting some good news. Star receiver T.Y. Hilton has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, but is ready to make his return this week. Unfortunately for Indianapolis, they’ll still be without tight end Jack Doyle and receiver Ryan Grant as well as several key contributors on defense like safety Clayton Geathers and defensive tackle Denico Autry.
  • The Lions will be without running back Theo Riddick, who went down during the team’s win over the Packers. Riddick has been operating as the Lions’ third down back, and rookie Kerryon Johnson should get more run with him out of the way. On the bright side, the team looks like it could be getting back pass-rusher Ezekiel Ansah, who hasn’t played since Detroit’s Week 1 loss. Ansah is listed as questionable but practiced all three days this week.
  • The Redskins will be thin on pass-catchers, as Jamison Crowder has been ruled out for the team’s game against the Cowboys while Paul Richardson is listed as doubtful. Washington promoted Jehu Chesson from the practice squad yesterday, signaling they weren’t expecting Richardson to play. Tight end Jordan Reed should see a ton of looks as the Redskins’ receiving corp is completely depleted.

For a rundown of every team’s injury situation, you can view all 32 injury reports over at ProFootballTalk.com.

Colts Rumors: Brissett, Castonzo, Hooker

Colts owner Jim Irsay said earlier this week that he wouldn’t consider trading backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett in exchange for a first-round pick, and it sounds like new head coach Frank Reich agrees, as Mike Wells of ESPN.com writes. “We actually talked right at the beginning of camp, and I just cannot emphasize enough how fortunate we are to have Jacoby,” Reich said. “I think this guy’s one of the top 20 quarterbacks in the NFL, and we have two of them on this team. It will be a different role for him. We talked about that, and Jacoby is a real pro in every sense of the word.” Brissett, who started 15 games for Indianapolis a season ago, will now act as the club’s No. 2 option behind Andrew Luck, who is recovering from a shoulder injury which cost him the entire 2017 campaign.

Here’s more on the Colts:

  • Left tackle Anthony Castonzo re-injured his hamstring last week and will now be “miss a little bit of time,” Reich told Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. Castonzo, who began camp on the physically unable to perform list while dealing with the same injury, has only missed five total games through seven NFL seasons. At this point, it’s unclear if Castonzo is in danger of missing regular season action, but the Colts don’t have much tackle depth behind him. While Indianapolis spent the offseason reinforcing the interior of its offensive line, tackle wasn’t necessarily addressed in the same fashion. Currently, journeyman J’Marcus Webb, who was signed at the end of July, is filling in on the blindside.
  • Speaking of Colts injuries, safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers could both be ready for Week 1 after dealing with their own health questions marks, per Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. Both Hooker, who is recovering from a torn ACL, and Geathers, working his way back from January knee surgery, opened training camp on the PUP list but have since been moved to the active roster. If Hooker and/or Geathers aren’t available to begin the season, the Colts will turn to Matthias Farley (who started 15 games in 2017) or T.J. Green to carry the load.
  • On the Colts’ first unofficial depth chart of the preseason, 2017 second-round pick Quincy Wilson was not listed as a starter at cornerback. Instead, journeyman Pierre Desir and former undrafted free agent Kenny Moore are the current top options in the Indianapolis secondary. In a separate piece, Holder looks at the unlikely ascendance of Moore, whom the Colts picked up via waivers last September.