The Indianapolis Colts today traded linebacker Caesar Rayford to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a conditional draft pick.
Rayford was originally signed by the Colts as a free agent on May 23, 2013. In the 2013 preseason, he played in four games and totaled 11 tackles (seven solo), 5.0 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Tags: Caesar Rayford, roster moves
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A total of 75 players will take the field Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium.
For those players, the 60 minutes of football will serve as one final audition to see if they will survive the 53-player cut that comes less than 48 hours later.
Here’s a look at five Colts who are sure to see plenty of playing time on Thursday:
Outside linebacker Caesar Rayford
Rayford has become the unsung hero of the 2013 preseason with five sacks. The former Arena Football Leaguer would be continuing his job as a juvenile counselor if he weren’t in opposing NFL backfields week-after-week.
“My mindset is like it doesn’t matter what I did last game. I’m just going to go out and compete like nothing happened, make the best of every play, every opportunity I get. What I did last game doesn’t matter about this game. It’s all about Cincinnati and got to go out there and compete, because those guys, they ain’t worrying about what I did last game. It’s what I do now.”
Quarterback Chandler Harnish
Harnish calls the preseason his “Super Bowl” and that’s especially the case in game No. 4 where the third string quarterback will get more than a bulk of the snaps. Last year, Harnish played three and a half quarters in the preseason finale and led the offense on a pair of touchdown drives, thus earning a roster spot.
“This is a big evaluation for myself. Last year, I had the opportunity to play most of the game and I’m expecting a lot of playing time this year too. I’m just going to go out there play my game, have fun, prepare like I’m a starter and just go out and show my value to this team.”
Safety Delano Howell
In Week One of the preseason, Howell played 89 snaps (99 percent of all defensive snaps) against Buffalo. He led the team in tackles and has continued to impress all preseason long.
“This is the one we’ve been looking forward to for the young guys, for guys that are trying to prove something, trying to claim a spot. There’s going to be a lot of opportunity, a lot of snaps and everything. I know all of us, all the young guys and everything, people that are fighting to earn a spot, they’re all going to be taking advantage of it.”
Inside linebacker Mario Harvey
Harvey turned in a strong performance last week against the Browns and he has fond memories of last year’s preseason finale. Harvey recorded six tackles, two for loss and eventually earned a roster spot.
“Every chance you get on the field is very important because you are fighting for a spot on the team, to feed your family, fighting for your legacy, your name so it’s very important.”
Safety Joe Lefeged
As an undrafted free agent in 2011, Lefeged had seven tackles in the final preseason game and earned a roster spot. Injuries have sidelined the third-year safety for much of training camp but he is expected to be out there on Thursday evening.
“It’s big but you don’t want to think about it too much. You want to focus on your assignment and go out there and have fun. If you think about the result and things you can’t control, that’s when the mistakes happen.”
Tags: Caesar Rayford, Chandler Harnish, Delano Howell, Joe Lefeged, Mario Harvey
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The Colts will conclude their home preseason slate on Saturday night with the Cleveland Browns traveling to Lucas Oil Stadium. Today’s news looks at Reggie Wayne’s impression on Pep Hamilton, the story of Caesar Rayford and a trade for the Colts that broke Wednesday afternoon.
Take a look below at the top pieces from Thursday, August 22nd.
By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star
As the Colts offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton almost never gets caught up in ‘watching’ the game
That changed on Sunday night after watching Reggie Wayne make a one-handed grab, Hamilton forgot he was the Colts offensive coordinator for a brief second.
“It’s funny,” Hamilton said Wednesday, recalling the play. “I try to not watch our play. I’m focusing on the defense and we’ve got to be ready as coaches to make adjustments on the fly.
“But I caught myself just a moment. I was somewhat in awe of the one-handed catch and I wasn’t really focused on the next play call, and I had to just gather my thoughts quickly and move on to the next play.”
By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star
New Colts outside linebacker Caesar Rayford has turned some heads this preseason with three sacks in two preseason games.
Rayford, who is a bit of a journeyman through the Arena Football League, has an interesting take on the path he is taking to the NFL.
“You got the guys that get the front door,” Rayford said, smiling broadly. “You got guys that get the back door.
“Then you got guys like me that got to climb the house and jump through the chimney. Hopefully, that landing doesn’t hurt too bad and (you) get back up. I’m definitely blessed for the opportunity and getting found.’’
The Associated Press
Just before the Colts hit the practice field on Wednesday afternoon it was announced that running back Delone Carter had been traded to the Ravens for wide receiver/kick returner David Reed.
Reed, 26, has five career receptions for 66 yards over three years. All five catches came last year. To this point in his career, his biggest plays have come on special teams.
As a rookie in 2010, he led the NFL by averaging 29.3 yards per kickoff return. That included a 103-yard return for a touchdown to open the second half at Houston.
”This trade gives us a chance to improve in key areas moving forward,” Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson said. ”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.”
Tags: Caesar Rayford, david reed, Pep Hamilton, Reggie Wayne, ryan grigson
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Playing collegiately at Washington and in the CFL with the British Columbia Lions, Caesar Rayford has played in front of large crowds in passionate settings.
He also cut some football teeth in the Arena League while playing for Spokane and later from 2010-12 with the Utah Blaze.
Rayford made his Colts debut Sunday against Buffalo and did so in memorable fashion.
With Buffalo ahead in the fourth quarter and threatening for more points, Rayford defeated his blocker and swooped in on quarterback Jeff Tuel. He caught Tuel’s arm and forced a fumble that cornerback Daxton Swanson recovered and returned 72 yards for a touchdown.
Since scoring plays and sudden-change snaps like that are reviewed, Rayford and Swanson had to wait for the ruling to be upheld.
“I was not sure. I didn’t know if I got his arm or anything,” said Rayford. “After watching the replay, I said, ‘Oh, I got his arm.’ I know I reached for it. It definitely felt good once everything was conclusive.”
Rayford (6-7, 267) is like every rookie in camp – trying to do enough to earn the right nod from the coaches.
After experiencing butterflies while coming out of the Lucas Oil Stadium tunnel to start the game, he punctuated things with the sack-fumble that narrowed the margin to 10 points.
“It felt good. I was out there doing what I could to make plays,” said Rayford. “At first, I didn’t know what happened for a second then after everything got put together, I said, ‘Oh, I made a play.’ ”
He had 5.5 sacks in 35 games at Washington. With Utah, he had 68 tackles, 22.5 sacks, 26.5 tackles for losses, seven forced and recovered fumbles and two interception returns for touchdowns.
Rayford also blocked six kicks, including an AFL seasonal record of five in 2011.
The All-Arena talent knows it takes a motor to make plays.
“I’ve had a couple of (shared scoring plays) playing Arena Ball,” said Rayford. “A couple of years ago, I had some forced fumbles for touchdowns, blocked a kick for a game-winning (score). I’ve made some plays here and there.”
Indianapolis needs to increase its takeaway total from the 15 it had last year. The Colts’ four defensive touchdowns in 2013 all came on interceptions, so the sack-fumble-touchdown was a good sign.
“I kind of have a knack for getting it sometimes,” said Rayford. “It’s just hustling and busting your tail, working, working, working. You never know when that play is going to come.
“As long as I work, it’s going to come. I’m just working my tail off. It made my day, definitely.”
Tags: Caesar Rayford, Daxton Swanson, indianapolis colts
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