The Colts have filled up their practice squad once again after basically playing dosey-do with OLB Mario Addison and. OC A.Q. Shipley. In order to mix things up, the team has brought in defensive lineman Clifton Geathers to take the 8th spot on squad after saying farewell to NT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste.
Let us take a minute to discuss just how it is that Addison still has a locker at the facility on West 56th Street as well as learn about the monster of a man that is Clifton Geathers.
On Monday, when we learned that Addison was waived, there were a few groans, but the overall sense was he played well in the pre-season but had basically disappeared since.
Speculation as to which other linebackers the front office liked better or how the depth chart really should have looked is a bit fruitless and the truth is likely more along the lines of other players bringing more to the table as special teams players than Addison.
Given the fact that Dwight Freeney practiced in full today, it should give us all a sigh of relief as well as excite us for the opportunity to see a bit more pressure on Green Bay’s QB, Aaron Rodgers and his offensive line which gave up 8 sacks to the Seattle Seahawks a few weeks back (featuring none other than long-time Colt and fan favorite, Jeff Saturday).
Either way, the Colts still feel there’s potential with Addison or else he wouldn’t have been signed to the practice squad. But, ahem, you might ask “Hey Brent, didn’t you say in Monday’s article that Mario Addison doesn’t have any practice squad eligibility left?”
I did say that.
And, I still do not think he does.
Yet, somehow, through the magic ways of Ryan Grigson and Tom Telesco, he remains with the team. I am honestly happy about that. I’m not trying to get the team in trouble, but I just for the life of me can’t understand how they did it.
Let me step on a soapbox for a bit. When the NFL and the NFL PA agreed to a new 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement last summer (marked by the embrace of New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft and the aforementioned long-time Indianapolis Colt, Jeff Saturday), the rules of practice squad eligibility were not seemingly changed. I took the time to review the document found here.
Players with an “Accrued NFL Season” are not eligible for the practice squad.
An “Accrued NFL Season” is qualified as having been active on gameday during the course of the 16-week regular season and/or post-season of the same year for a minimum of 6 games.
Mario Addison played in, and was active for, a total of 7 games during the 2011 NFL season – 4 for Chicago (9/18, 9/25, 10/16, 11/13) and 3 for Indy (12/4, 12/11, 12/18).
Unless there is some unwritten rule on this, not contained in the CBA, or somewhere in the “legalese” there is something about players playing for 2 different teams that I have not noticed, it seems the Colts are not complying. It baffles me.
Yes, I am a nerd, that’s why I know silly things like Practice Squad eligibility. I also am a stickler for rules.
But I digress, in fact, I’m quite happy that Addison is still in town. I genuinely feel like he’ll be back on the active roster in the not-too-distant future, assuming the offensive line can catch a break and get some healthy bodies back soon.
(Editor’s note: We have reached out to the Colts to get their response on the issue, and will report their statement as soon as possible. -KJR)
(Editor’s note II: Under a closer look at the CBA, it contains this clause:
(ii) free agent players who were on the Active List for fewer than nine regular season games during their only Accrued Season(s)
This is the only way that Addison would be eligible, if he was considered a “free agent player”. However, Addison was retained through the 2011-2012 year, and was never a free agent during the offseason. The only way he could be considered a “free agent” for this eligibility is if when he was released earlier this week, he became a “free agent player” in terms of this eligibility. This seems a little dubious to me, but could work. I mentioned this on Twitter, but if that is considered a “free agent,” then any player eligible for the PS would fall under that distinction, making the first clause – 6 active games or more – obsolete.
We are still waiting on a response from the Colts on the issue. – KJR)
UPDATE: The Colts have responded to our inquiry on Addison, using the second clause (explained above) as the explanation for Addison’s eligibility. Again, why the NFL includes both clauses in the current wording of the CBA doesn’t make much sense, as the first clause is completely unnecessary. Nevertheless, it seems the Colts are within the boundaries. – KJR
Lastly, after only being with the team a few short weeks, the Colts seem to have agreed with the Ravens’ post-training camp assessment that Nick Jean-Baptiste doesn’t currently have much value to an NFL team. So, instead they have brought in an absolute physical specimen in Geathers.
Geathers (6’7” – 325lbs) was a 6th-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2010 out of the other USC, University of South Carolina. He has an impressive pedigree, with a father, brother and uncle who were all drafted by NFL teams.
His father, Robert Geathers Sr. never played, but was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in ’81, his brother, Robert Geathers Jr. currently plays DE for the Cincinnati Bengals and probably most notably, his uncle, James “Jumpy” Geathers played in the NFL for 13 years in the mid-80s and 90s.
Of course, with any practice-squad type, there’s a reason he’s available. He was drafted by the Browns, but didn’t make the team coming out of training camp. He was immediately claimed by the Miami Dolphins but bounced between the PS and active roster a few times. He was claimed by Seattle during that same season, lasted a very short time on their active roster and then came into his most worthwhile NFL experience. He was then claimed (again? Yes, there’s a trend here) from waivers by the Dallas Cowboys late in the 2010 season and remained with the team up through final cuts of this year’s training camp.
With the Cowboys, Geathers got his feet wet in real games, playing in 6 games between the ’10 and ’11 seasons. Some Cowboy fans and media members projected him to make the team out of this training camp, but he failed to do so.
The issue with Clifton is he’s inconsistent. He will look dominant at times and fade into obscurity other times.
In all reality, the reason he’s here is because he has great measurables. Teams hope they can mold him into another Calais Campbell (6’8” – 300lbs.), the Arizona Cardinal defensive lineman for whom it also took a few years for the light to turn on. Now Campbell is one of the best 5-technique defensive ends in the game. Here’s hoping defensive line coach Gary Emmanuel and the rest of the staff can help Geathers to make the same jump Campbell has in Arizona.
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