Just four days after the Indianapolis Colts drafted two centers, including Alabama’s Ryan Kelly in the first round, they waived the player once thought to be the long-term starter at the position.
Khaled Holmes, a fourth-round pick out of Southern California in 2013, was expected to be an anchor to the offensive line but repeatedly lost the job first to injury and then twice because of performance.
The Colts on Monday cut Holmes as well as tight end Cameron Clear, long snapper Forrest Hill and tackle Mitchell Van Dyk. The team saves $675,000 against the cap, according to overthecap.com, with the roster move on Holmes, who was entering the final year of his rookie contract.
In three seasons, the 26-year-old, Santa Ana, Calif., native appeared in just 17 games. After getting just a dozen snaps in three games as a rookie reserve in 2013, Holmes was elevated to starter for training camp, a vacancy created with the offseason release of veteran Samson Satele, who had one year remaining on his contract.
But in what would be a reoccurring trend, Holmes couldn’t hang onto the job. He lost it the first time after only one preseason game, in which he suffered a high ankle sprain. The Colts initially turned to A.Q. Shipley and then undrafted rookie Jonotthan Harrison, who started 10 games. Holmes was a healthy inactive for several weeks, presumably a forgotten man in the equation.
Harrison hit the rookie wall and was benched. Holmes had played three games as a reserve, then started the last two regular-season games. And the Colts stuck with him for three playoff starts.
After outplaying Harrison in 2015 camp, Holmes started the first seven games before suffering a neck injury. Harrison, his offseason roommate and workout partner, started once again. Thought at least initially to be an injury replacement, Harrison kept the job for the final nine games, although Holmes was considered probable on the injury report one game after he was sidelined.
The Colts are obviously counting on Kelly, selected with the 18th overall pick, to be the starting center in 2016 and beyond. And they selected Iowa center Austin Blythe in the seventh round. While Blythe can also play guard, either he or Harrison will likely back up Kelly.
None of the other three players cut had much of a history with the Colts. Clear was signed as a free agent in February, Hill was added a month later and Van Dyk joined the team on April 20.
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