Colts claim 'Clipboard Jesus' Charlie Whitehurst as backup QB

Day after 10th-year pro was cut by Tennessee, passer awarded to Colts to back up Matt Hasselbeck while Andrew Luck is injured.

Since Matt Hasselbeck is needed to play season savior for injured quarterback Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis Colts have turned to “Clipboard Jesus” as backup quarterback.

Tenth-year pro Charlie Whitehurst, who got the nickname in Seattle because of long hair and a lengthy career as a substitute, was awarded to the Colts on a waiver claim Thursday, one day after being cut loose by the AFC South rival Tennessee Titans.

The move should come as no surprise, considering the Colts spend $3 million on a Luck insurance policy in Hasselbeck, who turned 40 in September and is in his 17th season. Whitehurst is 33 and has lasted in the NFL for a decade despite playing just 20 games with nine starts. He did not play for the Titans this season.

Luck is expected to miss two to six weeks with a lacerated kidney and partial tear of an abdominal muscle, injuries sustained in Sunday’s 27-24 home win over Denver.

The Colts (4-5) have a bye this weekend and lead the lowly AFC South Division by one game. Hasselbeck won against division foes Jacksonville and Houston when Luck was inactive for Weeks 4 and 5.

If Luck’s injury lingers, it makes sense to have a quarterback familiar with the division should something happen to Hasselbeck. The Colts play each of their division foes in December.

Whitehurst started five of seven games for the Titans last season. He completed 105-of-185 passes (56.8 percent) for 1,326 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions.

He lost four of those five starts including two against the Colts by a combined 41 points. But Whitehurst was also under duress most of the time, taking 18 sacks in seven games.

He’s 2-7 as a career starter. His career passing numbers are 189-of-340 (55.6 percent) for 2,131 yards, 10 TDs and six interceptions. 

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