INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Practice squad additions rarely create a ripple in the NFL, but the Indianapolis Colts produced one Thursday.
General manager Chris Ballard signed cornerback Jalen Collins to the practice squad. It’s essentially a no-risk, high-reward move for a player with four NFL-imposed suspensions on his resume and whose last appearance was as starter in Super Bowl LI after the 2016 season.
“I never thought it was over,’’ Collins said Thursday, “but I knew that the things that I’ve been through kind of hurt my chances and I’m definitely grateful for this opportunity.’’
Collins, 25, was a 2015 second-round draft of Atlanta, but his career has been marred by four suspensions for violating the NFL’s substance abuse and performance-enhancing drugs policies. His most recent suspension was levied April 9 and forced him to miss the first 10 games this season.
The suspension was lifted Sunday. The Colts worked out Collins Wednesday and signed him to their practice squad Thursday. He’ll make $7,588 per week, with the opportunity for considerably more if he earns a spot on the active roster.
“After the workout I felt good,’’ Collins said. “They told me it went good. I was just waiting to hear the good news.’’
Does he consider this his last shot with the NFL?
“I mean, it’s the opportunity that I have right now,’’ Collins said.
He first was suspended four games in 2016 and twice in 2017, for the first 10 games for violating the league’s PED policy and four games later in the season. A stunning stat: Collins has been suspended for more games (28) than he’s appeared in (24).
Collins’ latest opportunity could be enhanced by the presence of Ballard. The Colts’ second-year GM has a history of giving players with off-the-field issues a chance. That was the case in Kansas City with Tyreek Hill and Marcus Peters.
“Chris has dealt with situations and players that have struggled before,’’ Collins said. “He let me know he’s going to be there for me and just make the most of the opportunity.’’
In Atlanta, Collins admitted he “let things get out of control and it took too long for me to get everything under control.’’
He’s confident he has surrounded himself with a solid support system.
The 6-2, 198-pounder could represent an upgrade in the secondary if he can avoid further off-field issues. He appeared in 24 games with 8 starts with the Falcons and registered 42 tackles, 2 interceptions and 10 passes defensed
Collins last played for the Atlanta Falcons in their Super Bowl LI loss to New England Feb. 5, 2017. He started and finished with 11 tackles, including a team-high 10 solos.
The Colts’ cornerbacks have been inconsistent all season and hindered by a fading pass rush. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 72 percent of their passes, the second-high total in the league and the highest in team history.
Of the Colts’ 9 interceptions, only three have been notched by corners: two by Kenny Moore II and one by Pierre Desir.