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Colts release 3 former draft picks in cut down

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP)

Caesar Rayford and Delano Howell survived cutdown day with the Colts. Three former Indianapolis draft picks did not make it.

Quarterback Chandler Harnish, offensive lineman Ben Ijalana and defensive tackle Drake Nevis were among 19 players waived on Saturday by the Colts, who also put three players on the waived-injured list to reach the league's mandated 53-man roster limit.

None of the moves came as a surprise.

Ijalana was a second-round pick in 2011 who was expected to solidify Indy's interior line. But he missed the final 12 games of his rookie season with a knee injury, and then re-injured the knee at training camp in 2012 and missed the entire season.

Nevis, a third-round pick in 2011, made five starts as a rookie and three last season, but like Ijalana finished both seasons on injured reserve.

Harnish, the final pick of last year's draft, made the team's active roster last season, but was inactive for the first five games and spent the rest of the season on Indy's practice squad. If he clears waivers, he could rejoin the Colts' practice squad again.

''You have to be mentally tough and bounce back,'' Harnish said after a rough start in Thursday's preseason finale. ''The players that stick in this league are the ones that bounce back.''

Rayford and Howell, however, were impressive all summer.

Howell, a college teammate of Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener, spent most of last season with Buffalo after making the team as an undrafted free agent. Indy signed the safety in mid-November, and he led the Colts with 24 tackles in the preseason.

''The coaches always say to make sure you don't have any regrets and leave it all out on the field. I feel that's definitely what I did,'' he said. ''It definitely wasn't perfect. There are always a couple of plays I'd want to do over again. I have no regrets and left it all out there.''

Rayford was one of the most unlikely players to make the roster at the start of training camp.

But the 6-foot-7, 267-pound linebacker showed steady progress throughout the preseason. Now the 27-year-old rookie who spent the last five seasons bouncing around the Arena and Canadian Football Leagues is on the Colts' roster.

Linebackers Daniel Adongo and Josh McNary, two of the league's more intriguing undrafted rookies, were let go, but could be brought back for the practice squad.

Adongo, a rugby player from Africa, had never put on a helmet and pads until the week training camp opened. He never got a shot to show what he could do in the preseason.

McNary was trying to come back after spending the last two seasons fulfilling his service commitment to the U.S. Army after graduating from West Point. He was hobbled by an injury early in camp and never fully recovered.

Indy also cut safety Larry Asante; offensive linemen Thomas Austin, Bradley Sowell and Lee Ziemba; defensive backs Marshay Green and Sheldon Price; defensive linemen Lawrence Guy and Martin Tevaseu; fullback Robert Hughes; tight end Dominique Jones; receivers Jeremy Kelley, Jabin Sambrano and Lanear Sampson; and linebacker Monte Simmons.

Offensive lineman Emmett Cleary, linebacker Shawn Loiseau and cornerback Daxton Swanson were all waived/injured. If they clear waivers, they will join Indy's increasingly crowded injured reserve list.

Receiver LaVon Brazill will open the season on the reserve/suspended list after a second violation of the league's substance-abuse policy. Brazill will miss Indy's first four games.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Tagged: Ben Ijalana, Chandler Harnish, Delano Howell, Colts

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