Joe Reitz staying in his hometown

Versatile offensive lineman receives 3-year contract extension to return to Indianapolis, where he was born.

Joe Reitz can stay home.

Just hours before NFL free agency was to begin, the Indianapolis Colts announced they had agreed to terms on a contract extension with the offensive lineman from the Hoosier State’s capitol city.

Reitz reportedly received a three-year deal for about $9-million deal that could grow to $10 million, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and NFL Network.

He provides the Colts with versatility — he can play either tackle or guard. Reitz, 6-7 and 325, started at three different positions last season, starting once at left guard, twice at right guard and once at right tackle in the regular season. He then started at right tackle for the injured Gosder Cherilus in the three playoff games.

As in the past, don’t expect Reitz, 29, to begin training camp as a starter. He started out last season as the backup right tackle. But the NFL is a long season with injuries and he always seems to find his way into the lineup.

The former Hamilton Southeastern High School basketball star has started 24 of 44 career games for his hometown team since 2011.

Reitz appeared in 10 regular-season games last season and a career-high 14 regular-season games in 2013. When his contract was up last offseason, he agreed to return to the team for one year because he wanted to play where he grew up in front of family and friends.

Once a college basketball player at Western Michigan, Reitz was initially signed as an undrafted free agent by the Baltimore Ravens, who initially tried to turn him into a tight end in 2008 but eventually turned him into an offensive tackle.

He never played a game for the Ravens, starting that season on the practice squad and ending up on injured reserve with a shoulder injury in October. He spent 2009 on the Ravens’ practice squad, was retained but then cut at the beginning of 2010.

After spending three days with the Miami Dolphins, he was waived and the Colts claimed him the same day. He spent the bulk of that first season back home on the practice squad.

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


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