With their nearly miraculous turnaround season still in the rear view, the Indianapolis Colts have their sights set on the future. Many remember when Colts CEO and owner, Jim Irsay, decided to say goodbye to many fan favorites. The Colts have given their fans a reminder that they intend to keep building toward success. Indianapolis will soon say farewell to LB Dwight Freeney and WR Austin Collie.
Freeney has been with the Colts for 11 seasons, beginning when he was drafted eleventh overall in 2002. During his tenure in Indianapolis, Dwight has played in 163 games where he was responsible for 298 combine tackles, 258 total tackles and 40 assists. Freeney has also forced 44 fumbles and recovered 3. The beloved veteran linebacker holds the franchise record for sacks at 107.5. His impressive skills landed him 7 Pro Bowl appearances thus far.
“Few people have meant as much to the success of the Indianapolis Colts as Dwight Freeney,” said Irsay. “He has been a dominant player, which is all the more impressive considering his size for his position, and he has won a lot of games for this franchise. Dwight was an artist, a joy to watch, and the dedication he put toward his craft was a rare quality. We will miss him, but look forward to his future induction into the Hall of Fame and Colts Ring of Honor.”
No one can argue that Freeney has been an invaluable asset to the Colts organization for years. Many believed, as they did with a number of former Colts, that Freeney would retire in Indianapolis. Although he will not don blue and white as he finishes his career, he will forever be cherished by the Colts and the city of Indianapolis for his many contributions.
Collie was drafted in the fourth round (127th overall) by the Colts in 2009. While with the Colts, Collie has caught 173 receptions for 1.845 yards, averaging 10.7 yards per catch. The longest reception of his career was 73 yards. Collie has also achieved 104 first downs and scored 16 touchdowns in his four seasons.
While successful when on the field, the young wide receiver has been riddled with injuries. Of his four seasons with the Colts, Collie has spent virtually one-and-a-half on the bench. Mainly due to concussions, he has found himself on IR multiple times. There is speculation to whether his release by the Colts will be the end to his career.
“Austin was a warrior and an inspiration for the franchise and Colts fans around the world,” said Irsay. “He was a great player for us and a superstar for our community, and will always be a part of the Colts family.”