Delano Howell to see specialist

Updated: August 19, 2014, 5:21 PM ET
By Mike Wells | ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Delano Howell has gone from having the inside track to being the Indianapolis Colts' starting safety to now wondering if he will be able to play football again.

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said Tuesday that Howell plans to see a specialist for his injured neck, which has kept him out of practice for the past week.

[+] EnlargeNew York's Eric Decker
Alex Trautwig/Getty ImagesColts safety Delano Howell is uncertain about his future because of a neck injury that has kept him out of practice for the last week. He also missed time with neck pain in 2013.

"Anytime there's anything with a neck, you have to cross your t's and dot your i's," Grigson said. "That's a serious area. It's something that's been nagging him. He's going through the whole entire process of seeing multiple people so he can formulate that opinion with his wife and his agent and himself and us and make the decision that's best for Delano.

"He's seeing another specialist so we can pinpoint what the problem is exactly, and hopefully he's back out there playing for us soon."

The Colts are taking Howell's neck issue seriously because a similar problem ended his 2013 season early.

"It's not like you're dealing with a fingernail here," Grigson said. "You're dealing with your neck. That's something that really has to be looked at with a fine-tooth comb. No decisions have been made. There are no feelings one way or another whether he's going to be here or not be here. We want him to see as many people as possible. He's comfortable with going in one of those directions."

Howell appeared to be the front-runner to replace Antoine Bethea, who signed with San Francisco during the offseason. The Colts signed veteran Mike Adams in June to compete for the starting job.

Now the hope is that Howell will simply be able to continue his playing career.

"Just to be blunt: If you're out here, you're going to have more of an edge than the guy who is not out there," Grigson said. "That's the way this league works. It sounds cruel, but sometimes the best ability is availability. We have some guys over there who are starting to emerge and do some really good things."

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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