Is Sorgi Finished in Indianapolis?

The Colts head into the season's final month with an undefeated record and the inside track on home-field advantage for the playoffs, meaning it may be time for career backup quarterback Jim Sorgi to see some rare action. But Sorgi's season came to an end today as he was placed on the injured reserve list. Is his time with the Colts over as well?

Today's announcement that Sorgi was headed to the IR wasn't a surprise to those who have been following the team closely for the past month or so. Sorgi, who has been with the team since 2005 and has never started a regular-season game, has been a frequent member of the team's injured list recently and hasn't been active for a game since the Colts hosted the Texans on Nov. 8.

Sorgi first appeared on the injury list the following Wednesday, Nov. 11, with a right shoulder injury. He was active, but did not play, in the previous week against the Texans, making it unclear exactly how the injury occurred. There are even some unconfirmed whispers that it's possibly a non-football injury.

Sorgi was in the spotlight in 2008, when Peyton Manning missed the preseason with a knee injury
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

At the time, head coach Jim Caldwell downplayed the injury.

"I think he's good to go," Caldwell said on Nov. 11. "We'll take look at what he's able to do today. He just felt a little tweak. We thought it was better to examine it and find out if there was any problem. He thinks he's fine. We'll see what happens at practice today. They (doctors) took a look at him, checked him out thoroughly and felt he's O.K."

Since that day, nearly a month ago, Sorgi participated just once in practice — and that was in a "limited" role.

By Thursday of last week, Caldwell was expressing more concern about the injury.

"There is a concern," Caldwell said. "That is something that is constantly evaluated. He was reevaluated again yesterday. We are not certain at this time. We have to take a look and see down the road how he recovers. Right now, he is recuperating. He's not doing a whole lot in terms of practice at this point."

It's not the first time Sorgi has struggled with his shoulder. He also injured it in the 2006 preseason. And, for a man who backs up Peyton Manning in case of injury, he's had more than a few of his own — Sorgi has also been injured in the 2008 (knee) and 2009 (hamstring) preseasons, typically the only time he sees much time.

All signs indicate the Colts are prepared to move on without Sorgi. The team drafted Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter, and have kept him on the roster all season. Painter has been the backup since the Colts played the Patriots in Week 10.

The team has also taken a look at several other quarterbacks, including holding tryouts for former Bills starter J.P. Losman and former University of Kentucky Shane Boyd last week.

The team retained Boyd on the practice squad last week, before releasing him on Tuesday and reportedly signing former Buffalo quarterback Drew Willy today.

Sorgi is signed through the 2010 season, when he is slated to approximately $1 million in base salary, according to Sorgi could earn up to an additional $500,000 with bonuses next season.

HARTZ'S HUNCH: The old adage that the backup quarterback is the team's most popular player has never been true in Indianapolis, where Sorgi has never inspired a lot of confidence with fans. The alternative is Painter, who has never thrown a pass or taken a snap in an NFL game. But it's not like Sorgi has ever gotten any meaningful playing time anyway — Peyton Manning has only missed one snap in his career due to injury (before Sorgi was with the team) relegating Sorgi to mop-up duties.

Based on what little we have seen of him, Painter seems to have more upside than Sorgi in terms of athletic ability and talent. He's also younger, cheaper and signed through 2012, but doesn't have the detailed knowledge of the Colts' system Sorgi has.

It seems that if there is a time to make a change, this would be it. Sorgi is reportedly due a roster bonus equal nearly to Painter's 2010 salary, and he can't seem to stay healthy for any period of time. If the unconfirmed rumors of a non-football injury are true, that would also tend to weigh against keeping him.

Painter now finds himself as the team's new "Maytag Man," at least for the rest of the season. Those interested in the Colts' fortunes will want to see him assume the same duties his predecessor had — handling a clipboard, not a football.

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