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Colts are pushing Alec Pierce to compete for playing time

Colts GM Chris Ballard joins Mike Florio to talk about Indy's busy offseason, from the decision to move on from Carson Wentz to how the Matt Ryan trade came together to what the team saw in Cincy WR Alec Pierce.

After the Colts used a second-round pick to acquire Cincinnati receiver Alec Pierce, G.M. Chris Ballard said that Pierce will have to get on the field by proving it. Recently, Colts coach Frank Reich said the team is pushing Pierce to compete for that privilege.

“He’s going to have to compete for every snap, right?” Reich said, via Kevin Hickey of USA Today. “It’s a very competitive group. But yeah, we’re definitely pushing him. We’re definitely pushing him and want him to compete to get in the mix and get on the field.”

Reich added that Pierce is a “very smart guy” and that he “really has learned the offense quickly.”

Ballard previously explained in an appearance on #PFTPM that the Colts became attracted to Pierce during the campus workout of quarterback Desmond Ridder.

“Wasn’t anything about talent, we just didn’t quite know how he was going to be as a route runner,” Ballard said at the time. “We just hadn’t seen it enough yet. To be able to watch him run and see him move and drop his weight, we think he’s going to be a really good addition to our team.”

Ballard cautioned at that time that, as Reich now says, Pierce will have to earn his playing time.

“They’re rookies,” Ballard said. “There’s a natural maturation curve at all of them. They’ve got to learn the pro game. They’ve got to come in and earn it. The one thing you don’t want to do is just stamp them. They’ve got to come in and earn their role and their spot on the team. Whether it’s on special teams, whether that’s in a three or four receiver. Whatever the role is and then earn their way up the ladder which we think Alec has the potential to do, but now he’s got to go to work.”

The work is happening in the offseason program. It will continue in training camp. Come Week One, he either will have earned it -- or he’ll still be trying to.