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Colts jettison Shamarko Thomas days after ejection

On Thursday, Shamarko Thomas became the first player ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit under the NFL's new rule. On Saturday, his team ejected him permanently.

The Indianapolis Colts announced they released the veteran safety.

Coach Frank Reich said there was "no message" being sent with Thomas' release. "The process of the roster is very complex," he said. "Every decision is taken very seriously, a lot of things that go into it. You're thinking days in advance. So, tough decision. It's a tough part of this business. Shamarko is a really good guy. So that was a tough decision. We just felt like it was in the best interest of your club."

Thomas was ejected late in the fourth quarter of Thursday's preseason opener versus the Seattle Seahawks for a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver David Moore. It's exactly the type of play the NFL is trying to eradicate from the game.

Under the amended rules, any player who lowers his helmet to establish a linear body posture prior to initiating and making contact with the helmet and is unobstructed in his path to the opponent is subject to ejection.

Reich was clearly perturbed by Thomas' hit.

"That was very disappointing. I'm very disappointed," he said after the game. "We don't teach that. That was a good call, that was the appropriate call, he should have been ejected. ... That could have been avoided, should have been avoided, and the referees did the right thing."

Despite question marks about the Colts' secondary, that the 27-year-old former Steelers and Bills safety was playing late in the Colts' first preseason tilt meant he was likely on the chopping block. The hit probably helped hasten his jettisoning. If Indy needed a roster spot, Thomas was likely the first to go.

It turns out they needed a spot.

The Colts signed defensive end Ryan Delaire. The 26-year-old played 16 games for the Carolina Panthers over the 2015-2016 seasons, compiling 14 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He was waived last offseason with a failed physical designation and did not play in 2017 while recovering from a knee injury.

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