Yep, you read it right. The Colts added a real, honest-to-goodness fullback
to their roster.
Last week at Colts.com following the team's first loss of the season, Colts president Bill Polian was asked why the Colts didn't run the ball on a 3rd-and-2 at the Dallas 8-yard line that resulted in a red zone possession with no points -- in a game that Indianapolis lost by a touchdown.
"...If you had (former Steelers running back) Jerome Bettis, for example, it might be something you would try, but Joseph Addai's 215 pounds, not 260 pounds," he explained. "Do we need perhaps – in the future – a short-yardage goal-line back? Sure, we could use one, but if you don't have that guy, then you take what the defense dictates to you, which is to throw the ball.
"...I'm thinking more of the Bus (Bettis) or somebody like that. (Larry) Kinnebrew, in the old days in Buffalo – he was an automatic first down ...some guy like that, 250 pounds who just goes in there and blasts people out of the way. If you have that fellow, your red zone offense becomes a lot better."
Luke Lawton isn't quite 250 pounds, nor is he a household name yet like Bettis. But at 237 pounds, he brings more than 20 pounds of extra weight and punch to the Colts running back corps than Joseph Addai to help him deal with an overloaded box of defenders in short-yardage situations. And he brings more than 30 pounds to the situation than Dominic Rhodes or Dede Dorsey.
Lawton was an undrafted free agent who signed with Buffalo in 2004 out of McNeese State, but he was released in the team's final round of cuts. That move put in motion a barrage of signing and releases not uncommon for undrafted free agents these days. By the end of 2004, he had spent time on the Giants and the Bills practice squads. Then Atlanta signed him in January, but by May he was back with the Giants, who have a well-established fullback in former Colt Jim Finn.
Towards the end of training camp, Lawton suffered a broken nose that required surgery, and the Giants waived him less than a week later. The Jets scooped him up and signed him to their practice squad when they assembled their group in early September. It was the break Lawton had been working towards as it led to a promotion to the active roster for four games from mid-November to mid-December.
But Lawton was released by the Jets in mid-July this year and has been looking for a new opportunity ever since. And his hard work and patience may be rewarded by getting a shot at becoming a short-yardage specialist with a team that currently has the best record in the NFL.
ColtPower's Jerry Langton will provide our Insiders with a scouting report on Lawton this week, sharing his insight on what Lawton's strengths and weaknesses, and what he brings to the table with his arrival in Indianapolis.