Give Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson credit. He’s not afraid to trade a veteran player if he thinks the move will improve the overall quality of the roster.
Such was the case Wednesday afternoon as Grigson pulled the strings on a deal that sent running back Delone Carter to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for wide receiver/kick returner David Reed.
“This trade gives us a chance to improve in key areas moving forward,” Grigson said in a prepared statement. “David is a very competitive football player and we welcome his style of play and energy. At the same time, we wish Delone well with his opportunity to play for another first-class organization and we thank him for his efforts.”
Carter had become the odd-man out in the Colts’ running back group ever since the team added former New York Giants starter Ahmad Bradshaw to the mix on June 11. A former fourth-round draft pick by Indianapolis in 2011, he will be reunited with former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell in Baltimore. Caldwell is now the Ravens’ offensive coordinator.
In two seasons with Indianapolis, the former Syracuse standout played in 26 games and started three. He wound up with 499 yards in 133 carries and ran for five touchdowns while playing primarily as a short-yardage and goal-line specialist.
Reed, meanwhile, has been used as a kick returner in Baltimore. He has appeared in 29 career games and had 39 kickoff returns for 1,150 yards (29.5 avg.), including a 103-yard touchdown return. The 6-foot, 195-pounder has also contributed with 19 special teams tackles.
As a rookie in 2010, the Utah grad led the NFL by averaging 29.3 yards per kickoff return, recording 616 yards on 21 returns. He also posted a then-Ravens-record 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half at Houston on Dec. 13, 2010. Reed was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for that performance.
He became expendable, however, by being the ninth receiver on a team that was crowded at the position. The team recently added former Colts wide receiver Brandon Stokley as a free agent. Injury issues also took their toll.
A fifth-round draft pick by Baltimore, Reed — who signed a two-year contract extension during the off season — is familiar with Colts coach Chuck Pagano. Pagano is a former assistant coach with the Ravens.
• Landry returns to practice — Veteran strong safety LaRon Landry participated in Wednesday’s practice. Landry had been sidelined since the second week of training camp in Anderson with a left knee injury.
There’s a chance the former Redskins and Jets defensive back will make his first preseason appearance in an Indianapolis uniform if the rest of the week goes well.
“With LaRon, we’re hoping defensively we can get him out there and play with the first group. But for right now we’ll take it day-by-day and we’ll see what it is,” defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said Wednesday.
“I don’t know from the medical staff what they have planned. But if he’s up, then we’re ready to get him out there and get him a couple of snaps. A decent amount of snaps if he can.”
Also returning was rookie nose tackle Montori Hughes (stinger). Tight end Dwayne Allen (foot), inside linebacker Pat Angerer (foot), rookie offensive guard Hugh Thornton (ankle), defensive end Fili Moala (knee) and Bradshaw (foot) all saw work during the practice.
• Injury list — Recently signed wide receiver Maurice Williams sat out Wednesday’s session. Williams was added to the roster Monday night and had participated in practice Tuesday afternoon.
Inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, meanwhile, was sporting a walking boot on his right foot and did not practice.
Wide receiver LaVon Brazill (foot), cornerback Teddy Williams (quad), tight end Coby Fleener (knee), safety Joe Lefeged (calf), rookie center Khaled Holmes (ankle), and rookie inside linebacker Josh McNary (hamstring) did not practice.
Fleener was wearing a brace on his right knee Wednesday. He will probably be a game-time decision Saturday night when the Colts face Cleveland (7 p.m.) at Lucas Oil Stadium.
• Williams getting his chance — With Wednesday’s trade of Carter to Baltimore, rookie running back Kerwynn Williams is expected to see plenty of work carrying the football during the Colts’ final two preseason games.
Williams, first-year running back Davin Meggett and fullback Robert Hughes will most likely see extensive playing time in the second half of this week’s game with the Browns and next week’s preseason finale at Cincinnati.
“I would like to think that Kerwynn is one of the guy’s that’s been somewhat opportunistic as far as getting an opportunity to make a play and then making a play,” first-year offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said Wednesday.
“He’s been able to create his own yards. Even in our scrimmages over the course of training camp, he shows a knack for making the guy miss in the hole and getting more out of plays that in most you would think are starting to break down. He’s done well for himself.”
Starter Vick Ballard and veteran backup Donald Brown will take the bulk of the snaps in the first half of the Cleveland game. Bradshaw might get in for a few plays but isn’t slated to see a substantial workload.
“It’s coach Pagano’s decision, if he decides to make Ahmad available. Of course, we’ll devise a plan for Ahmad to go out and do what we all know that he can do very well and that’s run the football,” Hamilton said.