The parade of former Indianapolis Colts players and coaches continues today when the Green Bay Packers take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
From cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Kelvin Hayden in the regular-season opener with the Chicago Bears to former assistant coaches Leslie Frazier and Alan Williams, now with the Vikings, to outside linebacker Clint Session with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Colts have certainly spent some time going down memory lane through the first three games of the year.
This afternoon, its center Jeff Saturday, who is in his first season with the Packers. Saturday was a five-time Pro Bowl selection in Indianapolis, a team captain and one of the most familiar faces on the roster. A fan favorite, he was not re-signed this past offseason and was one of several long-time Colts to depart in the midst of a major franchise reboot.
During a recent teleconference with Indianapolis media, Saturday admitted that after his long association with the Colts, it’s going to feel a little strange coming into town as a member of the opposing team.
“You know man, it’s mixed emotions. Obviously you’re coming back with a job at hand, but I spent my whole career there. You’re 13 years not only on a football team, but helping build a community. My wife and I for so many years have been so involved. You’ve got mixed emotions,” he voiced.
“It’s never easy to be on the other side. I obviously have so much respect for the Colts and their organization. It’s always tough. But you’re coming back with a job to get a win and that’s what we’re going down for.”
Even though Saturday is trying to look at today’s game as just another business trip, he’s smart enough to realize that won’t be the case. Far from it.
“I don’t know. I’m going in and I’m sure it’s going to be tough seeing everybody and hanging around. But ultimately I have a job to do and I consider myself a pro and I know I’ve got to go out there and do my job and play well,” he said.
“The Colts defense has played well. They’re very aggressive up front so we’ve got our work cut out for us keeping them off of Aaron [Rodgers] and being able to open up some holes. I know I’ve got a job and I can’t get caught up in all the emotions of it, I’m going to have to separate that. Then maybe on the way out, I’ll get a little emotional then.”
One thing Saturday can expect. Over the years, when a former Colts player has returned with another team, the organization has put together a video honoring the player’s accomplishments while in Indianapolis. It usually occurs between the third and fourth quarters.
“I hope it’s a good one. I hope they put some good stuff up there. You appreciate it. As a player, man I gave the same as I’m doing here. I gave everything I had. I played as hard as I could,” he said. “I felt like I led the team on and off the field and did the best job that I could. I’m proud of the time that I was there and always look fondly upon that time.”
Saturday acknowledged, somewhat jokingly, that one of his biggest challenges today will be not ending up on the wrong sideline or in the wrong locker room.
“I don’t know, man. The crazy thing is I don’t think I’ve ever even been to the visitors’ locker room in Indy. I don’t even know where I’m going to be. It’s all going to look different … ,” he said.
“You’re so accustomed to seeing that blue and the horseshoe and the whole deal. Hopefully I don’t jog the wrong way early. I’ll turn around and head back towards the right side.”
Looking back over his career in Indianapolis, Saturday said that while the team’s success was nice, it was the relationships with his teammates, the coaches and the people in the building on West 56th Street that he misses the most.
“When you’re around a place for so long, I knew where everybody’s office was, I knew who was in charge of everything. Just getting accustomed to that, where’s the equipment room, where’s the equipment room? All those things are things you’ve just got to get used to,” he voiced.
“The culture of teams is so different. Just getting accustomed to all that has taken time and I feel like I’m in the groove here. I’m happy I’m here and it’s been fun to do.”
The question now is just how long Saturday remains with the Packers. He signed a two-year, $2.7 million contract with Green Bay in the offseason. Retirement was an option after last season, but he still had the desire to play.
“You know, I gave it it’s due consideration. I didn’t know what I was going to do to be very frank. I think I made that frank with everybody. I was going to give myself time to decide. I went through it, my wife and I prayed about it and talked about it,” he recalled.
“I felt like there was a very good opportunity for me in Green Bay. It got me excited. I got excited about the opportunity up here and decided a couple more years wouldn’t be too bad of a deal so I decided to head this way and I’m happy with the decision.”
One thing is certain. Whenever he does decide to call it quits, he will be returning to Indianapolis to live. He did not sell his house in the area when he signed with Green Bay. He wants to remain a Hoosier.
“I think Indy is eventually my home. That’s what my family, my wife, all three of my kids are Hoosiers. That’s what we know. Our church is there, my kids’ schools, everything is back there. We have made Indy our home for the 13 years I was there. We still have our home there and we’ll go back in the offseason,” Saturday said.
“I’m not planning to make any changes with that. I love that community and I’ve been very involved, and my wife has been very involved for so many years. I’m not going to pull up roots just because I’m not playing football. It’s a great place to raise a family and I’m very proud of the community I live in.”
Is there more of a future with the Colts at some point? Maybe.
“I don’t know. I know [team owner] Jim [Irsay] has made it very clear that the opportunity would be there. I’ll look at it. I strongly considered it this time. He made it an option before I even came back and played football. Jim has treated me as well as you could possibly ask for as an owner,” he praised.
“[Colts vice-president] Pete Ward the same way. Those guys have been just fantastic to me and have made it very clear that I’d be offered something and they would love me to be around the organization. To a man who’s worked as hard and given as much as I have to that organization, that feels awfully good.”
The parade of former Indianapolis Colts players and coaches continues today when the Green Bay Packers take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years
Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Pat McAfee — the Indianapolis Colts’ punter and kickoff specialist — tweeted that he had a special announcement to make at the top of the hour.
Colts excited to add talent, experience of D'Qwell Jackson
With the National Football League's veteran free agency period set to start on March 11, the Indianapolis Colts front office has started to make the decisions needed to retool for the 2014 season.
Former Cleveland Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who had been released by Cleveland on Feb. 26, signed a reported four-year, $22 million deal with Indianapolis on Thursday. Only the first two years of the contract are guaranteed.
Jackson (6-foot, 240) started 96-of-97 games over the past eight seasons with the Browns since being selected by the team in the second round of the 2006 draft. He played collegiately at Maryland.
EIU’s Garoppolo hopes to impress scouts
Let the Eastern Illinois University quarterback tradition continue.
Mike Shanahan, Jeff Christensen, Sean Payton, Tony Romo and, now, Jimmy Garoppolo. All were record-setting quarterbacks on the Division II and FCS levels.
Grigson says Colts likely not to make big splash in free agency
Don’t expect the Indianapolis Colts to go wild in the upcoming free-agent market.
While the Colts will have anywhere from $33 to $37 million to spend this offseason, Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson says the franchise will be a bit more selective when it comes to signing any prospective veteran free agents.
SEASON IN REVIEW: Colts make progress in 2013 season
The Indianapolis Colts made plenty of progress over the course of the 2013 season.
And the Colts fought through some adversity as injuries hit the team hard at several positions, most notably at wide receiver (Reggie Wayne), tight end (Dwayne Allen), running back (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw), offensive line (Donald Thomas) and cornerback (Greg Toler).
Moving on: Coach likes what he sees, gets ready for phase three of Colts’ development
Time to move on. In the wake of the Indianapolis Colts’ 43-22 AFC divisional playoff loss at New England last Saturday night, head coach Chuck Pagano is ready to take time off and then start getting after it again late this spring.
Blunt force trauma: Patriots running game too much for Colts
LeGarrette Blount ran the New England Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.
The 250-pound back had four touchdown runs and New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback win to beat the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 Sunday night.
‘Still the same Tom’
How do you attempt to stop, or even slow down, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady?
Belichick impressed with Luck's skills, poise under pressure
Bill Belichick doesn’t have to be reminded about the talents of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Although Belichick’s New England Patriots handed the Colts a 59-24 loss in Foxboro last year, he came away from the game with plenty of respect for the young signal caller.
Colts, Patriots, both with many new faces, to meet in playoffs for fourth time
Here we go again. Yet another Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots playoff game.
Up next for Colts: Brady, Patriots
Hello Tom Brady.
Thanks to the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 AFC wild-card playoff win over Cincinnati on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts will be traveling to Foxboro, Massachusetts to face Brady’s New England Patriots Saturday (8:15 p.m.).
Luck leads huge rally as Colts grab first playoff win for Pagano
What a game.
Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Colts were going to be blown out at home in an AFC wild-card playoff game by the Kansas City Chiefs, the impossible happened.
Colts sell out today's Kansas City game
There will be no local television blackouts in the NFL this weekend.
The Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers said Friday that their weekend wild-card playoff games are sellouts. Normally, teams must sell out 72 hours before kickoff to have a game broadcast in their local market. The NFL gave the Colts, Bengals and Packers an extra day to do it.
The Colts host Kansas City today. On Sunday, the Packers host San Francisco and the Bengals host San Diego.
NFL honors Colts' Mathis with Deacon Jones Award
Robert Mathis never got to see Deacon Jones take down opposing quarterbacks in person.
He learned to appreciate Jones’ creativity over time.
The Colts Pro Bowl linebacker and newly crowned sacks champion was honored Thursday as the inaugural winner of the NFL’s Deacon Jones Award, which goes to the league’s sacks leader. Mathis will be recognized at the NFL award banquet Feb. 1.
Victory over Chiefs means nil, Mathis says
Robert Mathis doesn’t care that the Indianapolis Colts registered a 23-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago.
Record-setting Indy win
Finish the National Football League regular season strong. That’s what the Indianapolis Colts wanted to accomplish Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In major gain, Colts lead NFL in fewest turnovers
Play clean. That’s been a credo that the Indianapolis Colts have tried to live by this season.
Has Luck's growth been accelerated by Colts' adversity? Probably
Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck is quickly becoming known as a guy who can quickly adjust to any situation.
Toeing the line: Colts’ offensive line getting healthy, finding niche as playoffs near
The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line has certainly taken its share of hits this season, both on and off the field.
Colts’ chief strength: No panic
The Indianapolis Colts had watched the Kansas City Chiefs march downfield for an easy score on the first series of the game, yet nobody on their sideline seemed to be worried.
In fact, it seemed as if their confidence soared.
Luck has knack for knowing when to run
To run or not to run. When it comes to Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck, his competitive nature usually comes into play.
Loss at Chiefs could cost Colts bye in playoffs
Chuck Pagano doesn’t have to make his Indianapolis Colts players aware of the playoff implications surrounding the team’s road game at Kansas City on Sunday.
Back in the mix: Colts are hoping to improve their playoff seeding in final two weeks of NFL’s regular season
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stresses that he is not a scoreboard watcher when it comes to other National Football League games.
Back in stride: Colts finally put points on board early, roll to ninth victory of season
It had been a long time in coming, a National Football League game in which the Indianapolis Colts had a comfortable lead well into the second half.
Whalen, Richardson make waves on offense
It’s not too hard to figure out who the offensive and defensive players of the game were in the Indianapolis Colts’ 25-3 win over Houston Sunday.
Mathis, Colts hoping to gain defensive momentum against Texans
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis, one of the Indianapolis Colts two most vested veterans, has taken it upon himself to make sure his team is ready for Sunday’s AFC South matchup with Houston (1 p.m., CBS Sports).
Mathis and injured wide receiver Reggie Wayne have been with the Colts the longest. They, along with defensive end Cory Redding and safety Antoine Bethea, have become important voices in the Indianapolis locker room.
Colts not apologizing for way they won division title
Backing into the AFC South title? The Indianapolis Colts are not apologizing to anyone for claiming the franchise’s eighth division crown since the start of the 2002 season.
Bungles — including refs’ — benefit Bengals
Give the Cincinnati Bengals plenty of credit. In a game that pitted two of the AFC’s better teams and two of the National Football League’s best young quarterbacks, the home-standing Bengals took care of business.
Many doubt Cincy runner scored on goal-line play
Did he make it or didn’t he?
Was Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis stopped on fourth down short of the end zone or did he make to the end zone without being touched?
Heavy snow appears in forecast for Colts
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrew Luck doesn’t have a history of playing a lot of football in the snow or in snowy conditions. But if weather forecasts for this weekend remain on track, Sunday’s AFC battle between the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals may be severely tested by the weather.
- More Colts Headlines
- Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years