Eric Ebron may have hauled in 13 touchdowns in 2018, but the Indianapolis Colts had no problem letting him walk in free agency this offseason. While Ebron flashed plenty of ability with the Colts, the team couldn’t overlook Ebron’s performance in 2019, when the team reportedly believes Ebron quit on the Colts.
That bombshell comes courtesy of Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. During a radio interview, Kravitz said the Colts had no interest in bringing Ebron back in 2020 because the Colts “felt he quit on them this season.”
Kravitz even went a step further, detailing a conversation he had with Colts general manager Chris Ballard. Kravitz says he asked Ballard what the team would do with Ebron in the offseason, and Ballard replied by flat-out saying, “We’re done with him. We’re moving on.”
While it’s refreshing to see a GM speak honestly about a player, it’s pretty unusual for one to speak this openly. That could be a sign Ballard was frustrated with Ebron.
Why do the Colts believe Eric Ebron quit on the team?
After hauling in those 13 touchdowns in 2018, Ebron fell back to Earth in 2019. In 11 games, the 26-year-old Ebron caught 31 passes for 375 yards and just three touchdowns. While that performance was disappointing, the Colts’ willingness to let Ebron walk may have more to do with Ebron undergoing ankle surgery late last season.
Ebron’s decision to have that surgery came as a surprise to Colts head coach Frank Reich, who didn’t think Ebron’s ankle injury was a big deal. Ebron claimed he had been hurting since training camp, and the pain of the injury had become too much. The Colts did list Ebron on the injury report once during 2019 due to an ankle issue, so the issue shouldn’t have come as a major surprise to Reich.
Still, Ebron’s decision to undergo the surgery with five games to go sent the wrong message to the team. The Colts likely didn’t believe the issue was serious enough that Ebron needed to have surgery during the season. When Ebron decided to do it anyway, the team probably interpreted that as a sign Ebron didn’t care or wasn’t reliable.
What’s next for Eric Ebron?
The Pittsburgh Steelers will figure out what to make of Ebron soon enough. The team signed Ebron to a two-year, $12 million deal. He’ll serve as one of Ben Roethlisberger’s primary targets next season.
If healthy, Ebron should put up some solid numbers in a strong offense next season. But if Ebron has issues unrelated to his injured ankle, the Steelers could find themselves regretting the deal before long.
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