With their safety numbers dangerously depleted by injuries, the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday signed veteran free agent Dexter Reid, who was with the team in training camp but was released before the season.
Reid, 25, can play both safety spots and is a proven contributor on special teams, and the former North Carolina standout figures to be quickly pressed into action.
Indianapolis earlier this week placed Mike Doss on injured reserve with a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in last Sunday's victory over Washington. Doss had started the last four games, filling in for injured Bob Sanders, a Pro Bowl performer in 2005 and the most physical player in the Colts' secondary.
Sanders underwent arthroscopic knee surgery a month ago but, despite being listed as questionable on the official injury report, is expected to return to action for Sunday night's game at Denver. Sanders likely will start alongside rookie Antoine Bethea, a sixth-round pick who ranks third on the team in tackles.
Even with Sanders' expected return, however, the Colts were left with just three healthy safeties. After considering all the options, Indianapolis decided to bring back Reid, who is familiar with the defense and will need no time to assimilate the scheme. Doss, who was placed on injured reserve, led the Colts in interceptions, with two.
Reid appeared in all 16 game for the Colts in 2005, playing mostly in dime situations and on all the kicking game units. He posted only four tackles from scrimmage but forced two fumbles.
Originally a fourth-round choice of New England in the 2004 draft, he started for the Patriots in two of his 13 appearances as a rookie that year. The Colts claimed him on waivers when New England released him just before the start of the 2005 season. In 29 games, Reid has 33 tackles, two passes defended, two forced fumbles and one recovery.
Details on Reid's contract were not available, but the deal is believed to be for one year at a minimum base salary prorated over the balance of the season.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.