Dwight Freeney's season is over, and now Simeon Rice has a chance to start anew in Indianapolis.
Freeney, the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end and highest-paid defender in the league, was placed on injured reserve yesterday by the Colts. He's scheduled to undergo surgery later this week or early next week on his injured left foot.
The blow is potentially devastating to Indianapolis, which has already been depleted by injuries. Seven starters missed Sunday's loss in San Diego, and Indianapolis lost four more starters, including Freeney, during the game.
"Dwight is a player you cannot replace," former Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders said. "But we'll continue to move on, continue to get better. We'll put new guys in and continue to roll. That's what Dwight would want us to do."
Freeney injured the foot while making one of his patented spin moves on a pass rush during the fourth quarter Sunday. He immediately crumpled to the ground, hopped off the field, and could not put any weight on the foot while standing on the sideline. Eventually, he was taken to the locker room on a cart.
Further examination Tuesday revealed a more serious injury in the midfoot area where a cluster of bones forms a small arch between the ankle and toes. The official diagnosis is a Lisfranc injury.
In a statement released just before coach Tony Dungy spoke with reporters, the Colts said Freeney was expected to make a full recovery in time for next season.
To help fill the void, the AFC South-leading Colts claimed Rice, a two-time All-Pro defensive end, off waivers Monday. Rice spent the first half of the season with Denver, which signed him to a one-year, $3 million contract in September.
League reinstates WilliamsRicky Williams's suspension ended after more than 18 months when he was reinstated by the NFL, and was scheduled for a physical today in Miami and to meet with Dolphins coach Cam Cameron, said Williams's agent, Leigh Steinberg.
Cameron has been mum for months regarding whether he would want Williams, 30, back. But Steinberg said he was encouraged by a phone conversation with Matt Thomas, Dolphins general counsel-football administration.
"His indication was they were interested in Ricky," Steinberg said. "The spirit of the discussion was welcoming."
Williams is eligible to attend team meetings and practice immediately, but the earliest he would be allowed to play in a game would be Nov. 26. The team will have a roster exemption for up to two weeks if and when he starts practicing.
At quarterback, Cameron has decided to let rookie John Beck take the reins. Beck will make his NFL debut when he starts Sunday at Philadelphia, replacing Cleo Lemon, and the plan is to start Beck in the final seven games.
Beck took more than 80 percent of the snaps in practice, Cameron said. "He has earned the right to play," the coach said.