Jeff Saturday: Labor Leader

His day job is protecting the NFL’s most valuable asset.

For the past few months, Jeff Saturday has traded in his pads for a suit. As one of the most visible faces of the NFLPA, Saturday is widely viewed as one of the major heroes on the players’ side.

Saturday has long been a locker room leader, but with the league in crisis, he stepped to the forefront and became a leader for all of football.

Saturday was more than recognizable face for the cameras. He was a vital cog in the negotiations:

“Both he and Domonique Foxworth were instrumental in that they were the two who were in every meeting since June 28 in Chicago,” Mawae said. “There were times when I couldn’t be there or any other member of the executive committee couldn’t and they were the two who were. I can’t say enough about how they played a major part in all of it.”

Saturday is one of the most popular players in Indianapolis history, and is widely viewed as a borderline Hall of Famer.  His resume is right on the line between ‘very good’ and ‘all time great’.  While I still think a second Super Bowl ring would help Saturday’s case, another Pro Bowl or two could really boost his resume as well.

It’s notoriously difficult to judge linemen, and so odd criteria like Pro Bowls and roles in labor fights end up being used.  Saturday will go down as one of the smartest and most recognizable players of his era.

Whether or not his performance behind the scenes in the labor deal can be used to bolster his Hall of Fame credentials, the positive image the media has of him will certainly serve him well.

I’ve long held a three-tiered view of Colts greats. The first is the Classic Colt. The second is the ring of honor. The third is the coveted retired jersey.

18, 88, and 93 should never be worn again. I don’t see any way to debate that.

Now, I’m inclined to add 63 to that list as well.

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