Amidst speculation that the Indianapolis Colts might claim recently released Cleveland Browns’ running back Ben Tate off waivers, the team’s hopes have now been seemingly dashed. According to reports, Ben Tate has been claimed by the Minnesota Vikings, who are tied for the 9th worst NFL record.
Oct 12, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Ben Tate (44) celebrates touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
Tate made it further than intitially projected up the NFL’s standings ladder, but unfortunately, he didn’t make it up far enough for the Colts to get an opportunity to claim him. With this turn of events, the Colts will likely have to turn to their “Plan B”.
While this could be kicking the tires on also recently released veteran running back LeGarrette Blount (who went unclaimed today), chances are it will be simply promoting undrafted rookie running back Zurlon Tipton from the practice squad, at least initially. Tipton already has an upper leg on the offense and playbook, having both been stashed on the practice squad for weeks and played with the offense in preseason.
On the other hand, Blount was having a fairly productive season of 65 carries for 266 rushing yards (4.1 ypc) and 2 touchdowns for the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he has a checkered history of red flags and character concerns. He left the field early in Monday night’s game against the Tennessee Titans, upset about his diminished role, and it cost him his job. The Colts may be wary of adding him into their locker room.
While I was on board with the team signing Ben Tate, I’d remain awfully hesitant about the Colts signing LeGarrette Blount. The only coach that has gotten through to him is Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots last season. If the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t with head coach Mike Tomlin and the veteran players in their organization, then I’m not sure you could realistically say the Colts could either. It’s definitely a situation to monitor though as the week progresses.
Oct 26, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount (27) runs the ball against Indianapolis Colts linebacker Andy Studebaker (58) during the second half of their game at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 51-34. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports