When can Colts rookie Tyquan Lewis make his NFL debut?

Phillip B. Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts don’t have an opponent to prepare for in their bye week, but Tyquan Lewis knows the clock is ticking on when he can return to the active roster.

The rookie defensive end, selected in the second round out of Ohio State, returned to the practice field for the first time since training camp. His long-awaited pro debut has been delayed by a toe injury.

When he first practiced last week, that triggered a three-week timetable for the Colts to decide if Lewis will be brought back from injured reserve to the active roster.

“I’m excited to get back out there,” Lewis said last week. “It’s been a long three months. “Definitely frustration (before), you expect to get out there and play. Nobody expects an injury. It definitely caught me by surprise, but now I’m back on track to get back on the field.”

Lewis, 23, handled the practices without issue.

“I know my capabilities and I know what I can do,” he said, “so I can definitely make a big, big difference in everything I do and everything that’s on the field.”

Colts general manager Chris Ballard discussed Lewis in Monday’s appearance on “Colts Roundtable Live” on 1070AM-The Fan.

“We’ll have more on Tyquan in the next couple weeks,” Ballard said. “(He) came back last week, got his first week of action since training camp. Movement was good, toe felt good. This off week, he’ll work with our strength and conditioning staff, and they’ll put him through three full days of hard work to really work on getting his conditioning back up, and then we’ll hit him that next week to see where he’s at and if he’s ready to move up after the Jacksonville game (Nov. 11).”

Although listed as a defensive end, the 6-3 and 255-pound pass rusher could also see time at defensive tackle when the Colts look to get after quarterbacks. In 63 career games at Ohio State, Lewis had 37 tackles for loss including 23.5 sacks.

“He was a defensive end in college, but they also slid him down inside to the three (technique), and we ultimately think that’s going to be his best position in the system, as an upfield, disruptive three technique,” Ballard said. “When I was in Chicago, we had guys, prototypical and same build that (Lewis has) in Tommie Harris and Henry Melton, and we think he can develop into that same type of role. We’ll probably him both spots here early, because he does have some position flexibility.

“We’re high on Tyquan. We moved up in the second round to get him. It’s unfortunate that he had the injury, but he looked good last week in practice, and we expect big things of him when we get him up to the roster.”

Ballard sounds optimistic that will happen. Only time will tell, but Lewis is understandably eager.

“Get back on the field,” Lewis said, “and let’s do it.”