The Practice Squad Explained: Which Colts Are Eligible?

With the NFL's preseason nearly done, and Week One approaching, the annual roster cuts are on everybody's mind. 52 young men, and Kerry Collins, will be on the Colts roster, but there is another key group of players who will be receiving a salary from the Colts as well.

Those players will be a part of the Colts' practice squad, a group of men who are almost, but not quite good enough to be on the Colts' sideline come game day. With all these important decisions coming up fast, I've seen many people suggesting that the Colts keep certain players on our practice squad. It's fairly entertaining the amount of people who have been suggested, many of whom aren't even eligible.

So, under the suggestion of a Coltsider reader and friend (strootster), I've come up with a review of the practice squad rules, in order to determine which Colts' are eligible, and which ones are not. There is a total of eight spots available, plus one extra spot if the player lives outside of the US. These players will be paid a salary of $5,700 per week for the 2011 season. These are the criteria of players who are available:

  • A player who doesn't have an accrued season in the NFL (6 or more games on the 53-man roster)
  • If a player has one accrued season, but has nine or fewer games on the active roster (45-man roster who "suit up" for game day)
  • A player can only be on the practice squad for a total of two seasons, unless the team that employs him has had a full, 53-person roster during that entire period

Because of these criteria, the practice squad (PS) is usually consisted of mostly rookies. Based on that list, these are the Colts available for the squad:

  • Travis Baltz, P (Rookie)
  • Delone Carter, RB (Rookie)
  • Anthony Castonzo, OT (Rookie)
  • Chris Colsanti, LB (Rookie)
  • Darren Evans, RB (Rookie)
  • David Gilreath, WR (Rookie)
  • Mike Hartline, QB (Rookie) (Cut)
  • Joe Horn, WR (Rookie) (Cut)
  • Ben Ijalana, OT (Rookie)
  • Jake Kirkpatrick, C (Rookie)
  • Joe Lefeged, SS (Rookie)
  • Mike McNeil, TE (Rookie)
  • Larrone Moore, WR (Rookie)
  • Adrian Moten, LB (Rookie)
  • Kerry Neal, LB (Rookie)
  • Drake Nevis, DT (Rookie)
  • Ollie Ogbu, DT (Rookie)
  • Chris Rucker, CB (Rookie)
  • Chad Spann, RB (Rookie)
  • Marshall Williams, WR (Rookie)
  • Casey Bender, OT (Cut)
  • Chris Brooks, WR
  • John Chick, DE
  • Tyson DeVree, TE
  • Terrence Johnson, CB
  • Devin Moore, RB (Cut)
  • Joe Reitz, OG
  • Mike Tepper, OG
  • Kevin Thomas, CB (UPDATE: As reader WestsideRob pointed out, Thomas' IR season makes the first rule irrevelant, but Thomas falls into that second category, kudos for catching that)
  • Nate Triplett, LB
  • Vuna Tuihalamaka, LB

Key players who are not eligible:

  • Al Afalava, S
  • Josh Beekman, OG (Cut)
  • Jamaal Anderson, DE
  • Tyler Brayton, DE
  • Cornelius Brown, CB
  • Donald Brown,RB
  • David Caldwell, S
  • Cody Glenn, LB (Waived/Injured)
  • Javarris James, RB
  • Brandon King, S/CB
  • Ricardo Mathews, DT
  • Michael Matthews, TE
  • Mike Newton, S (Waived/Injured)
  • Curtis Painter, QB
  • Mike Pollak, OG/C
  • Jamey Richard, OG/C
  • Taj Smith, WR (not sure, falls into third category)
  • Michael Toudouze, OT (I don't think)

So, I don't want to see any more people saying we should sign Donald Brown to the practice squad. Geez. Also, look for a full-blown roster prediction today or tomorrow.

Kyle J. Rodriguez

About Kyle J. Rodriguez

A film and numbers guru, Kyle writes about the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for Bleacher Report, Draft Mecca and The Football Educator, and is a co-founder and associate editor of Colts Authority. Kyle also is a high school sports reporter for the MLive Media Group in Michigan, covering high school sports across the state.