Yale alum Tyler Varga makes Colts’ roster

Varga had a record-breaking career at Yale before signing with the Colts as an undrafted free agent. Against the odds, he appeared in three games with the team. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

By Joel Alderman

UPDATE: Tyler Varga has survived the final cuts by the Indianapolis Colts, as the team went down to the required maximum 53 players Saturday afternoon.

A total of 21 players were released, including Zurlon Tipton, who, like the Yale alum, Varga, is a running back.

Varga, despite being ignored in the NFL draft, is now an official player in the league!

Yale’s NFL prospect, Tyler Varga, may have indirectly received a pair of good breaks last night (Sept. 3rd) during the Indianapolis Colts’ 9-6 loss to Cincinnati. Two running backs ahead of him on the depth chart left the final pre-season game with injuries, and Varga promptly made the most of his unexpected reps.

Dan “Boom” Herron, the No. 2 at that position, suffered a shoulder injury, and Vick Ballard aggravated a hamstring.
That brought the total to three of Indianapolis running backs who have been injured in pre-season. Josh Robinson, like Varga a rookie, who had sustained a concussion last Saturday, is the third.

When Ballard went down Thursday night, Varga was the first man off the bench, and he went on to lead the Colts in rushing with 37 yards, the longest for 19, in nine carries. He also caught two passes for a total gain of 17 yards.

The ex-Yale star finished the preseason with 18 carries for 69 yards and one touchdown, five receptions for 36 yards, two kickoff returns for 54, and one solo tackle.

On the Colts’ page of Bleacher Report today, Kyle Rodriquez writes: “An unlikely sixth option at running back before the season began, Tyler Varga has improved his stock enough to potentially eke onto the final roster.

“The undrafted free agent from Yale has played tremendously this preseason, and while his 3.8 yards-per-carry average isn’t particularly impressive, the context of which those yards came is important here. The Colts’ backup offensive line has been very difficult to watch, and a complete lack of passing threat from the backup quarterbacks allowed defenses to stack the box.

“What was more impressive, though, was the highlight plays that Varga provided, plays that guys like Zurlon Tipton simply won’t be making.

“Combine those flashes with the consistent injury status of Vick Ballard and the very unimpressive preseason from Zurlon Tipton, and you get Varga’s ascension. If the Colts do decide that Ballard is too much of an injury liability to roster, Varga should be the fourth back over Tipton.”

There is only one more day to go for final cuts. All NFL teams must reduce their rosters to 53 by 4 pm Eastern Time on Sept. 5th.

Tyler Varga has done his part. The rest is out of his control.

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