News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 24, 2012

Former Colts Saturday, Diem decide their NFL futures

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

---- — The revolving door to the Indianapolis Colts locker room keeps spinning at the team's headquarters on West 56th Street.

Over the past 10 days, quarterback Peyton Manning and tight end Jacob Tamme signed with Denver, center Jeff Saturday moved on to Green Bay, wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez went to New England, cornerback Jacob Lacey signed with Detroit, offensive guard Mike Pollak is now with Carolina, and offensive tackle/guard Ryan Diem retired.

 While Manning’s decision was formally announced on Tuesday, Tamme and Saturday both made their intentions to move to new teams known on Friday. Diem announced his retirement the same day.

The Colts also added two players to the roster on Friday, picking up former Detroit quarterback Drew Stanton from the New York Jets and signing free agent wide receiver Donnie Avery. Stanton had signed with the Jets as a free agent last week but became expendable after New York traded for former Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

Indianapolis got Stanton and a seventh round selection (seventh pick in the round) in the 2012 NFL Draft in exchange for 2012 sixth round pick. The sixth round pick traded to Jets was acquired in addition to offensive tackle Winston Justice in a trade with Philadelphia.

“Excited to announce I’ll be joining the Denver Broncos [and] I look forward to getting to work," Tamme tweeted Friday afternoon.

"I want to thank [Colts owner] Mr. [Jim] Irsay, the Colts organization, Colts fans, [and] most of all, my teammates for what has been a great 4 years in Indy.”

The former Kentucky tight end, a fourth-round draft pick by Indianapolis, reportedly signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Broncos. Tamme had been one of the Colts' 19 unrestricted free agents.

 Saturday, meanwhile, opted to sign with Green Bay rather than join Manning and Tamme in Denver. He agreed on a two-year deal with the Packers. Terms of the agreement were not immediately known.

He has been a key member of the Colts’ offensive line since 1999. A former street free agent who originally began his National Football League career as an undrafted free agent with Baltimore, Saturday became a five-time Pro Bowl performer in Indianapolis. He also was an intergral part of the National Football League Players Association negotiating team that helped to settle the 2011 NFL owners lockout.

About the same time that Tamme and Saturday were agreeing to deals with their new teams, Irsay announced Diem's retirement plans via Twitter.

The former Northern Illinois offensive tackle was a fourth-round pick by Indianapolis in 2001. He started mostly at right offensive tackle for the Colts but also saw work at right offensive guard. He started at right guard for most of the 2011 season.

“Thanks for the opportunity, Mr. Irsay!,” Diem tweeted. “The last 11 years have been unbelievable, and I appreciate every minute of it. After an incredible 11 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, I have officially decided to retire from professional football."

Stanton, who played at Michigan State, was drafted by the Lions. He completed 104-of-187  career passes (55.6 percent) for 1,158 yards and 5 TD with 9 interceptions in 12 games over four years with Detroit.

“Drew is a big, athletic and strong armed quarterback that has the intangible package we are looking for at the position,” General Manager Ryan Grigson said Friday.

“He is a young, but seasoned quarterback that has won games in this league and we look forward to seeing him contribute to this team and our collective vision for the future. Drew is a great acquisition for the Colts and we are happy he’s a member of this team.”

Avery, meanwhile, is also a four-year vet with 103 career receptions for 1,308 yards and nine touchdowns. He was a second-round pick by St. Louis in 2008, where he played for three seasons before moving on to Tennessee last season.

The Colts also added former Miami and Oakland center Samson Satele Wednesday in anticipation of losing Saturday. Satele started at center for the Raiders last season. 

Lacey, meanwhile, agreed to terms with the Lions Wednesday while Pollak signed with Carolina Thursday. Gonzalez inked his deal with the Patriots last Saturday.

Unrestricted free agent defensive end Jamaal Anderson agreed to terms with Cincinnati Friday evening. Anderson, who played one season for Indianapolis after signing with the team during training camp, is expected to sign with the Bengals today.