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Colts release QB Johnson, sign RS Thigpen

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The Indianapolis Colts released quarterback Josh Johnson on Monday and signed free agent return specialist Marcus Thigpen.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Johnson was signed by the Colts as a free agent on Oct. 7 because of the uncertainty regarding Andrew Luck’s shoulder injury. Johnson did not play in the team’s Week 4 and Week 5 victories over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans with Matt Hasselbeck starting in place of Luck.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said after last Thursday night’s 27-20 win over the Texans that Luck was close to being back. The Colts host the New England Patriots on Sunday night.

Johnson has played in 29 career NFL games (five starts) and completed 96 of 177 passes for 1,042 yards with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay since being selected by the Bucs in the fifth round (160th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.

The 5-9, 200-pound Thigpen played the first four weeks of the 2015 season with the Buffalo Bills before being released on Oct. 7. He recorded nine punt returns for 47 yards and had three kickoff returns for 29 yards for the Bills. Thigpen has played in 45 career games and totaled 85 punt returns for 847 yards (10.0 avg.) and two touchdowns and 92 kickoff returns for 2,224 yards (24.2 avg.) and one touchdown. He has caught nine passes for 112 yards and one touchdown and has seven rushes for 26 yards.

In 2014, Thigpen played in four games for Tampa Bay and registered four punt returns for 65 yards (16.3 avg.) and six kickoff returns for 120 yards (20.0 avg.). He was waived by Tampa Bay on Nov. 25, 2014, and acquired by Buffalo off waivers the next day. Thigpen saw action in five games for the Bills and tallied 12 punt returns for 155 yards (12.9 avg.) and one touchdown and six kickoff returns for 165 yards (27.5 avg.). Prior to Buffalo, he also spent time on the practice squads of New England, Miami and Tampa Bay in 2014.

Thigpen originally signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2009.


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