Chandler Harnish is back on the Indianapolis Colts practice squad after a second dose of NFL reality that was much more stressful than the first.
Harnish waited one day as a rookie to learn he was starting the season on the active squad in 2012, but the decision stretched over two days this time. It was a long two days.
“Last year, everything happened so quickly, I didn't have time to think about the active roster or the practice squad, I was just going with the flow,” he said. “This year, it was a different dynamic when you have your own place and you're developing yourself in the community and building a network of friends, and feeling more comfortable.”
After finding out he was released by the Colts on Saturday, Harnish was hopeful he would be signed to the practice squad and continue with the team. He started last season on the active roster and finished it on the practice squad.
The Colts announced Harnish and five others signed to the practice squad Sunday afternoon.
“I'm ecstatic to continue to be a Colt and continue to develop at quarterback and work with Clyde (Christensen, quarterbacks coach),” Harnish said. “We have a good quarterback room. Matt (Hasselbeck) is great and Andrew (Luck) is a close friend of mine. I'm excited to keep working with them.”
Harnish completed 24 of 51 passes for 176 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in four preseason games. He had a passer rating 45.9. He led the Colts to a touchdown drive against the Bengals in their final preseason game last Thursday.
Harnish, a Norwell High School alum, said he was disappointed with his play during the preseason compared to a year ago.
“Last year at times (in preseason) I felt like I took games over and made some nice throws and led our team,” he said. “This year, it just didn't happen for whatever reason. I missed some opportunities and never got things clicking. It always comes down to the quarterback, he's the leader, and it didn't go the way I wanted it to. At the same time, I felt like I made mostly the right decisions. I didn't have a lot of mental errors. You have to put it behind you and get better from it.”
Harnish said his goal is to work toward becoming the Colts' backup quarterback in the future, but he also knows things can change rapidly in the NFL.
“You don't look too far ahead,” he said. “You kind of live in the moment and continue to develop. I want to make the (quarterback) room better and set myself up to fight for that backup position as we move forward, whether it's a year from now or whenever it may be.”
He said his emphasis will be on controlling the things he can control.
“I feel like I have a really good rapport with management and coaches and players,” he said. “My confidence is high and I feel good about where I'm at. It's a good, young team with a positive vibe. The sky's the limit for us and I'm happy to be part of it.
“I want to make the team better, come out and give good looks for our defense with the practice squad and set us up to be a success on Sunday.”
The Colts practice squad will also include outside linebacker Daniel Adongo, center Thomas Austin, tight end Dominique Jones, linebacker Josh McNary and cornerback Sheldon Price.
The Colts also waived running back Kerwynn Williams in order to sign tight end Jack Doyle off waivers from the Tennessee Titans.
Indianapolis opens its regular season against the Oakland Raiders at 1 p.m. next Sunday in Lucas Oil Stadium.