Colts Re-Sign Wide Receiver With Key Pass Catcher ‘Likely’ Out vs. Titans

Frank Reich

Getty Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich provided an update for injured wide receiver Keke Coutee as the team signed another wideout.

The Indianapolis Colts could be down to the No. 3 punt returner on their depth chart in Week 7. The biggest problem with that, though, is NFL teams don’t typically have three punt returners on their depth charts.

So as insurance in case one of their top two punt returners can’t play against the Tennessee Titans on October 23, the Colts brought back wide receiver and potential returner De’Michael Harris.

The Colts announced on October 18 that they have signed Harris to their practice squad.

On October 17, Colts head coach Frank Reich told the media that wide receiver Keke Coutee “will  likely be out” against the Titans.

“I feel bad for Keke [Coutee]. He’s a competitive playmaker,” Reich said in his press conference on October 17. “He’s just a furious competitor, so obviously a tough hit. Tough concussion, so obviously in the protocol.

“Feel bad for him. He’s done everything right. But he’ll have to go through all that protocol.”

Colts Have 2 Punt Returners in Concussion Protocol

Week 6 was the second straight game the Colts had a punt returner suffer a concussion. In Week 5 on Thursday Night Football against the Denver Broncos, running back Nyheim Hines sustained a hit to the head on the first offensive series that knocked him out for the rest of the game.

Hines did not play against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Colts signed Coutee from the practice squad the day before facing Jacksonville to serve as the team’s punt returner and depth receiver. But Coutee took a hit to the head on October 16 and left late in the second quarter.

Isaiah Rodgers and Dallis Flowers served as Indianapolis’ punt returners in Week 5 after Hines left with his injury. The Colts didn’t have to replace Coutee in Week 6 because the Jaguars didn’t punt again after his injury.

Colts Bring Back De’Michael Harris

In addition to Rodgers and Flowers, Cross has also served in the punt returner role this season. But on his one return, Cross muffed the punt deep in Indianapolis territory.

Hines could return for Week 7, but in case he’s also in the concussion protocol with Coutee, the Colts brought back another returner option on October 18 in Harris.

The 24-year-old receiver was active for 10 games with the Colts during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He posted 10 catches for 79 yards and six carries for 46 yards in those contests.

Harris doesn’t have any experience returning punts in the NFL or in college at Southern Miss. But  Kevin Hickey of USA Today speculated that Harris could be an option as a punt returner if he is promoted from the practice squad for Week 7.

At Southern Miss, Harris did return kickoffs. He averaged 25.8 yards per return in 2018 and 2019 combined. He took one of his returns in 2019 all the way for a touchdown.

In college, Harris also posted 61 catches for 587 yards and 5 touchdowns in two seasons. He contributed 621 yards and 5 more scores on the ground as well.

The Colts signed Harris as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL draft. He’s been back and forth between the active roster and the Colts practice squad over the past two years.

After 2022 training camp, Indianapolis waived Harris, but he remained free agent until the Colts re-signed him.

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