By Tom James
INDIANAPOLIS — Despite repeated assurances that backup quarterback Jim Sorgi’s sore right shoulder is all right, the Indianapolis Colts opted to shore up the position Friday by signing former Tampa Bay signal caller Shaun King.
Released by the Detroit Lions on Wednesday, King — who helped to lead Tony Dungy’s Buccaneers team to a 1999 NFC championship game appearance against the St. Louis Rams — is expected to be the Colts’ third-string quarterback behind starter Peyton Manning and Sorgi.
King, who will be entering his seventh NFL season, has started 24 of 34 career games and is 415 of 738 passing for 4,566 yards and 27 touchdowns with 24 interceptions. He was a second-round draft choice by Tampa Bay in 1999.
The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Tulane graduate spent five seasons with Tampa Bay, including a career-best season in 2000 when he completed 233 of 428 passes for 2,769 yards and 18 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. King spent the 2004 season with Arizona and had signed a one-year deal with the Lions on March 3.
“We just think Shaun will add to our quarterback situation,” Dungy said in a statement released by the team. “He’s an experienced guy who has played in a lot of big games and won. I think he’s going to be a good fit for our system and what we do. Both years he started for us [in Tampa Bay], we went to the playoffs and he was a big reason why.”
With the post-season release of former third-stringer Travis Brown, the Colts had been down to just two quarterbacks on the roster until the additions of undrafted rookie free agents Josh Betts (Miami of Ohio) and David Koral (UCLA).
A third rookie undrafted free agent, quarterback Mike McGann (Temple), also took part in the team’s recent mandatory mini-camp on a tryout basis. Additionally, Indianapolis had expressed interest in former Cleveland Browns first-round draft pick Tim Couch, bringing him in for a workout and interview last month.
Sorgi, meanwhile, was forced to miss the team’s recent mini-camp due to pain in his throwing arm. After visiting with team medical personnel, he was advised to rest his arm.
Dungy said recently that if Sorgi’s shoulder became a long-term problem, the team might be forced to look into other options.
“That would be a big problem for us if it was anything long-term. Hopefully it won’t be. But we’ll see,” he admitted.