Northeast Indiana has had its share of NFL players recently, and now it’s got one more.
Chandler Harnish, the former Norwell player, made the Colts’ 53-man active roster and will be the third-string quarterback behind Andrew Luck, the first overall pick in the 2012 draft, and Drew Stanton, who is in his fifth NFL season.
Harnish, who played collegiately at Northern Illinois, was the 253rd and final player taken in the draft.
He impressed during the preseason, completing 27 of 47 passes for 406 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, as the Colts went 2-2.
He ensured himself a spot on the team with his performance in Thursday’s 20-16 victory over Cincinnati at Lucas Oil Stadium, leading Indianapolis on three touchdown drives and orchestrating the comeback victory. He was 9 for 16 for 162 yards and a touchdown.
“Once Chandler calms down, he’s been able to be productive and move this offense,” said Colts first-year coach Chuck Pagano, who took over a team that cut ties with quarterback Peyton Manning after going 2-14 last season.
“I think Chandler is right where he needs to be. There (were) some plays near the end (Thursday) that got a little bit sloppy but I feel good about Chandler.”
Harnish, a native of Bluffton, amassed more than 11,000 yards of offense in college and was among 15 semifinalists for the Walter Camp Award as the top player in college football.
Harnish knows that he will only get on the field this season if there are injuries or if there’s a lopsided game, and he needs to be on his game as soon as he gets in.
“That’s the one thing I have to work on is coming into the game and playing fast right away,” he said. “I think I come in with a little deer in the headlights look and I can’t afford to do that. I think that’s a growing pain. I’ll learn from it.”
The Colts did cut long snapper Justin Snow, the team's longest-tenured player, as it reached the NFL roster limit of 53.
Snow had played in 192 consecutive games – the second-longest streak in franchise history behind Manning.
The Colts also waived receivers Kashif Moore and Jeremy Ross; running back Darren Evans; tight ends Andre Smith and Kyle Miller; offensive linemen Steven Baker, Hayworth Hicks, Mike Tepper and Zane Taylor; defensive linemen Chigbo Anunoby and Jason Shirley; linebackers Greg Lloyd and Jerry Brown and safety Latarrius Thomas.
Running back Deji Karim, defensive end James Aiono, linebacker Tim Fugger and defensive backs Brandon King and Mike Newton were waived-injured.
Receiver Jabin Sambrano and cornerback Korey Lindsey were put on injured reserve. Offensive tackle George Foster was released from injured reserve.
Other players from northeast Indiana beginning the NFL season on rosters include Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer (Bishop Luers) and Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard (South Side).
Offensive lineman Trai Essex (Harding) was cut today by the Steelers, while punter Jason Baker (Wayne) is a free agent.