It's feeling more and more as if the marriage between Eric Ebron and the Indianapolis Colts is veering toward a somewhat ugly divorce proceeding, given the current tone of their relationship. As more information begins to pour out on the nature of the tight end's ankle injury and his decision in late November to end his season by undergoing surgery to repair it, there's an obvious disconnect in how Ebron views the degradation of the injury over the past few months -- versus how head coach Frank Reich perceives it.
It would appear the Colts have also sent Ebron quite the message regarding his future -- or lack thereof -- in Indy when they announced the awarding of a three-year extension for Jack Doyle worth upwards of $24 million, essentially making him the tight end of the future, when considering Ebron is an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
For his part, Ebron took to social media to explain his side of the story, noting the Colts were not only aware of the ankle injury; but they were active in helping him manage it as best they could.
"Unfortunately, I have been dealing with an ankle injury since the beginning of the season," Ebron wrote on November 25. "Up to this point, the team and I have done everything in our power to manage the pain and get me out there each and every week. My goal was to push off surgery until the offseason but, at this point, the pain has become unbearable and I can no longer give my team and the fans a worthwhile version of myself. Although I am sad that my season has come to an end, I am anxious to begin the recovery process so I can come back next season healthier and better than ever!"
The problem is Reich alleges Ebron had been fine to practice and play until upwards of one week prior to his decision to undergo surgery, framing the decision by Ebron as blindsiding.
"It didn't limit him in training camp," Reich told media, via Zac Keefer of The Athletic. "It didn't limit him in the season or in practice. Then, last week sometime, I don't know if it flared up at practice or if it was the result of a previous game, but that was the first time that it had flared up to the point where it affected him as far as practice."
A new source leak alleges Reich "should not have been surprised" and that Ebron did tell the Colts about his ankle issue before September arrived, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, providing him shots of Toradol -- a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug -- nearly every week leading up to the decision.
The added plot twist lies in the fact Ebron was listed on the team's injury report this season with said ankle ailment only once, which adds another list of obvious questions to the pot. Either Reich and the Colts were truly caught off-guard by a supposedly sudden "flaring" of an injury they mostly knew nothing about -- a stance that is in direct contradiction to Ebron's accounting of the events this season -- or they actually knew and failed to list it on the injury report, which is an NFL violation subject to penalty by the league's front office. There's also the possibility, however, Ebron didn't notify the Colts as required about the injury and/or the severity thereof, which is what Reich strongly hints at.
What is known is the 26-year-old was certainly injured and has undergone the procedure -- ending his season and potentially his career with the Colts -- but the verdict is out on the when's and what's of how it all went down. If Ebron has played his last game for the Colts, it's a rather unceremonious exit for a former 10th-overall pick who went on to set franchise records in his time in Indy, but it appears the writing is on the wall.
Ebron says he's been dealing with the injury for months and the Colts knew about it. Reich says Ebron was fine to practice and play, with the decision to have surgery being an unforeseen one. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.