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Sam Ehlinger named starter for the Indianapolis Colts

Matt Ryan’s separated shoulder opened the way for the Texas Ex to make his first NFL start next Sunday.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich named former Texas Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger the starter on Monday following the Grade 2 shoulder separation sustained by Matt Ryan in Sunday’s loss to the Tennessee Titans. Reich intends to use the remainder of the season to see what the Colts have in Ehlinger, who passed Nick Foles for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart two weeks ago.

“I’ve been particularly impressed with Sam in practice since the season started, the look that he’s given on the scout team, the quality of his throws, the way he’s commanding himself out there,” Reich said. “Just the total package. I just think it’s the best decision for our team moving forward.”

Ehlinger, now in his second season after the Colts selected him with a sixth-round pick in 2021, has not attempted a pass yet in the NFL, but was a standout in the three preseason games, going 24-of-29 passing for 289 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions while rushing for 71 yards and a 45-yard touchdown run, longer than any run he had while playing for the Longhorns.

While the preseason success helped Ehlinger make the Indianapolis roster, he’ll now face a more significant challenge operating behind a leaky offensive line and trying to raise the level of play for an offense averaging only 16.1 points per game, 29th in the NFL.

Ehlinger will make his NFL debut as a starter against the Washington Commanders on Sunday.