O-line gets needed depth

Depleted by injuries to both backup offensive tackles, the Colts signed Jamon Meredith to the active roster and added another in Reid Fragel to the practice squad.

That two backup offensive tackles are hurt necessitated two roster moves Tuesday as the Colts signed free-agent Jamon Meredith to the active 53-man roster and added Reid Fragel to the practice squad.

Meredith has played in 47 career games, 24 of them starts, since entering the league as a fifth-round pick by Green Bay in 2009. He played in a career-high 16 games, including eight starts, with Tampa Bay last year.

To make room for them, the Colts placed offensive tackle Xavier Nixon on the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return list. That means Nixon, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Aug. 8, can be brought back to the active roster later this season.

Rookie offensive tackle Tyler Hoover, who had been re-positioned to offensive tackle, was released from the practice squad.

Nixon’s absence combined with tackle Joe Reiz suffering a left high ankle sprain in Thursday’s preseason finale meant the Colts had just two healthy tackles. Reitz is expected to miss a couple of weeks.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano had said rookie starting left guard Jack Mewhort would be the next tackle option if something happened to left tackle Anthony Castonzo or right tackle Gosder Cherilus in Sunday night’s regular-season opener at Denver. Starting right guard Hugh Thornton had also played some tackle in college at Illinois.

But Grigson saw an opportunity to add some experience in Meredith, who has played both tackle and guard in his career. While Meredith has bounced around the league, from Green Bay to Buffalo, the New York Giants, Pittsburgh and then Tampa Bay, the Colts needed to add a tackle at the last minute to shore up the line.

Mewhort, the team’s second-round pick, has already been used at center because of injuries at that position. He snapped for a quarter in the preseason finale. But it’s ideal to let him concentrate on guard, where he was thrust into the starting lineup after Donald Thomas was lost for the second consecutive season to a torn quad.

Center was a lingering concern, but A.Q. Shipley was claimed off waivers from Baltimore on Sunday. Shipley played in 14 games, five of them starts, for the Colts in 2012. Second-year center Khaled Holmes (ankle) and rookie Jonotthan Harrison (thumb) were in doubt for the opener. Holmes hasn’t played since suffering his injury in the preseason opener on Aug. 7.

Fragel was originally a seventh-round pick by Cincinnati in 2013. He was signed to Cleveland’s active roster from the Bengals’ practice squad on Oct. 29, 2013. The Browns waived him on Saturday.

The Colts also released running back Deji Karim from injured reserve with an injury settlement. His injury has not been disclosed. He is now free to sign with another team.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.

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