Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Colts add Mungro to backfield

Also release James Lewis, name practice squad players

AP Sports Writer

        INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts know Edgerrin James will play against Jacksonville on Sunday. Who assists James remains uncertain.

        The Colts found another running back Monday, claiming rookie James Mungro off waivers from the Detroit Lions, even as they awaited the arrival of rookie Ricky Williams.

        Indianapolis traded with New Orleans for the undrafted Williams on Sunday but he did not make it to Indianapolis in time for the Colts' short practice Monday.

        “We tried to get him on a flight last night, and we couldn't,” coach Tony Dungy said.

        When Williams and Mungro arrive, they are likely to get a crash course in the Colts offense because injuries have decimated the Colts running back corps.

        Indianapolis had only two backs — James and Shyrone Stith, who practiced for the first time since twisting his left knee in the preseason opener — available Monday.

        The Colts already have lost two backs for the season, Dominic Rhodes, who ran for 1,104 yards in 2001, and sixth-round pick Brian Allen. Both are on injured reserve after having knee surgery.

        James, the NFL's two-time rushing champ, has not played in a game since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last October.

        Stith started against Seattle on Aug. 10 and played well, rushing eight times for 29 yards and catching two passes for 50 yards.

        He was involved in light workouts Aug. 12 and Saturday, but Monday was the first time he carried the ball. That was a good sign for the Colts, who remain hopeful Stith will be at full speed Sunday.

        “Shyrone was off to a great start before he got hurt,” Dungy said. “The big thing with him is the pain.”

        The Colts had only four running backs on their 53-man roster — James, Stith, Williams and Jim Finn. Finn was the Colts' only fullback, and he is expected to miss four to six weeks with a sprained right foot. Finn attended Monday's workout — in a walking boot.

        So the Colts scoured the waiver wire to find anybody who might be able to help. Mungro, a 5-foot-9, 214-pound undrafted rookie from Syracuse, fit the bill.

        He led the Lions in rushing during the preseason, when he carried 28 times for 135 yards, a 4.8 average. He also caught five passes for 45 yards and has a big enough frame that he could serve as a blocking back while Finn recuperates.

        “There are a few interesting guys, we just have to wait and see what happens,” Dungy said before claiming Mungro. “We're going forward under the assumption that these are our guys.”

        To make room for Mungro, the Colts released sixth-round draft pick James Lewis of Miami. Lewis is the only one of the Colts' eight picks to be released. Defensive end Raheem Brock, a seventh-round pick of Philadelphia, also made the Colts' 53-man roster.

        The Colts also signed four players to their practice squad — offensive linemen Hans Olsen and Kurt Vollers, defensive tackle Brandon Hicks and wide receiver Adam Herzing. All four players spent the preseason with the Colts but were released Sunday during the final cutdown.


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