The Indianapolis Colts are undoubtedly one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2023-24 season, but they have now reached the point where anything less than a postseason berth is going to feel like a disappointment to their legions of fans. Although no team should be completely overlooked, the schedule is manageable these next four weeks, starting with a road matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday.
Cincy is riding high after backup quarterback Jake Browning led the team to an overtime win on Monday Night Football in Week 13. He will be greeted by a key returning defensive player, however.
“Colts activated defensive tackle Grover Stewart to the 53-man roster from the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list and waived wide receiver Juwann Winfree,” ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Saturday. The 30-year-old just finished serving a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Stewart claimed to have had no idea he broke the league's substance rule when issuing a formal apology in October. The 2017 fourth-round pick offers a valued presence on Indy's D-Line and amassed 20 combined tackles, two tackles for loss and nine total pressures in the first six games this season. Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley hopes that he can make an immediate difference for a unit that surrenders the sixth-most points per game.
In addition to Grover Stewart's own emotions, Indianapolis' motivations should be sky-high heading into a game loaded with playoff implications. A loss to the Bengals (6-6) threatens to knock the Colts (7-5) out of the top seven and into desperation mode. This latest roster move could help ensure that doesn't happen.