The Indianapolis Colts have lost one of their most talented undrafted rookies after he was claimed on waivers by the Chicago Bears.
When teams cut their roster from 80 to 53 players, they usually attempt a risky move that will allow them to keep some players. The team will waive guys and hope certain players clear waivers so that they can re-sign them to the practice squad. The risk in that is that the 31 other franchises have a chance to claim the player.
That’s why the Indianapolis Colts didn’t take that route with Sam Ehlinger. As the team’s third quarterback, he would be better off stashed on the practice squad, but Indy knew he would be claimed on waivers if he was released. So, the Colts just kept him on the 53-man roster. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do that with all the players they were hoping to retain.
Of the players released, Indianapolis was able to welcome some back to the practice squad but they lost one of the most promising undrafted rookies from training camp. Sterling Weatherford had a solid preseason with the Colts but Indy was forced to release him, hoping that he would clear waivers and be unable to join the practice squad. That didn’t happen.
Weatherford was claimed by Indy’s old friend, Matt Eberflus, who’s now head coach of the Chicago Bears.
Sterling Weatherford claimed by the Bears
Weatherford played in all three preseason games and he really flashed in the games and in practices. Through the three games, Weatherford had 25 tackles for the Colts and he was a part of a trio of undrafted linebackers that were making their name known in Indianapolis.
The other two in the trio were JoJo Domann and Forrest Rhyne. Domann made Indy’s 53-man roster and Rhyne cleared waivers and returned to the practice squad. Weatherford will be playing on the active roster for the former Colts defensive coordinator in Chicago.
While Indianapolis is still incredibly deep at linebacker and ultimately won’t be hurt by the loss, you never want to see promising players leave the building. Especially since fans grow an attachment to these players in the midst of their promising offseasons. But, that’s the business of the NFL.