The Indianapolis Colts today signed free agent return specialist Marcus Thigpen and released quarterback Josh Johnson.
Thigpen, 5-9, 200 pounds, played the first four weeks of the 2015 season with the Buffalo Bills before being released on October 7. He recorded nine punt returns for 47 yards (5.2 avg.) and had three kickoff returns for 29 yards (9.7 avg.) for the Bills. Thigpen has played in 45 career games and totaled 85 punt returns for 847 yards (10.0 avg.) and two touchdowns and 92 kickoff returns for 2,224 yards (24.2 avg.) and one touchdown. He has caught nine passes for 112 yards and one touchdown and has seven rushes for 26 yards. Thigpen originally signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He was waived by the Eagles and signed by the Denver Broncos on August 16, 2009. Thigpen was waived by the Broncos on August 26, 2009 and spent the 2009-2011 seasons in the Canadian Football League. He signed a reserve/future contract with the Miami Dolphins on January 30, 2012 and played two seasons for the Dolphins.
In 2014, he played in four games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and registered four punt returns for 65 yards (16.3 avg.) and six kickoff returns for 120 yards (20.0 avg.). He was waived by Tampa Bay on November 25, 2014 and acquired by Buffalo off waivers the next day. Thigpen saw action in five games for the Bills and tallied 12 punt returns for 155 yards (12.9 avg.) and one touchdown and six kickoff returns for 165 yards (27.5 avg.). Prior to Buffalo, he also spent time on the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Buccaneers practice squads in 2014. In 2013, Thigpen played in all 16 games for the Miami Dolphins and had six carries for 18 yards and eight receptions for 97 yards and one touchdown. He also had 34 punt returns for 264 yards (7.8 avg.) and 39 kickoff returns for 870 yards (22.3 avg.). Thigpen saw action in all 16 games for the Dolphins in 2012 and totaled one carry for eight yards and one reception for 15 yards. He also registered 26 punt returns for 316 yards (12.2 avg.) and 38 kickoff returns for 1,040 yards (27.4 avg.) and one touchdown.
Collegiately, Thigpen played at Indiana (2004-08) and finished second in school history with 2,009 career kickoff return yards, third with 4,658 career all-purpose yards and tied for eighth with 21 career touchdowns. He became the first player in school history with over 1,000 rushing yards (1,621), receiving yards (1,028) and kickoff return yards (2,009). Thigpen is just the fifth player in Indiana history to go over 4,500 career all-purpose yards. He finished fifth in Big Ten history with 2,009 kickoff return yards, tied for third with three kickoff return scores and tied for sixth with 81 kickoff returns.
Johnson, 6-3, 210 pounds, was signed by the Colts as a free agent on October 7. He was active but did not play in the team’s Week 4 and Week 5 victories over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans. Johnson has played in 29 career NFL games (five starts) and completed 96-of-177 passes for 1,042 yards with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers since being selected by the Buccaneers in the fifth round (160th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.
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