Colts lose punter with season-ending Achilles tendon injury

Indianapolis Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

WESTFIELD, Ind. (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts have lost Rigoberto Sanchez with a season-ending torn Achilles tendon.

Colts officials confirmed the injury was suffered during Tuesday's practice and provided the diagnosis Wednesday.

“I have to say I'm extremely upset for him," special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone said. "He put in so much hard work this entire offseason and I feel it's like my son who got hurt. I just, I really feel for him. You're not going to replace him. He does so much for our team.”

Sanchez has been one of the Colts special teams staples since he won the punting job as an undrafted rookie in 2017. He's played in all but two games since then — missing those while he was undergoing cancer treatment. 

The University of Hawaii alum also is Indy's kickoff specialist and is the holder on extra points and field goals.

He's averaged at least 45.0 yards per punt in three of the past four seasons including 45.3 yards with a net average of 39.7 last season. He's also been brilliant at pinning teams inside the 20-yard line.

Former Buffalo punter Matt Haack is expected to be one of the front-runners to replace Sanchez.

Indy also practiced Wednesday without starting center Ryan Kelly after he tested positive for COVID-19 and second-year defensive end Kwity Paye left early after hurting his knee. It's unclear when Kelly will return or how severe Paye's injury might be.

The Colts hold their final training camp practice Thursday in suburban Indianapolis.

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