Pondering: Letting a Legend Go

I’ve been pretty clear about what I thought the Colts should do with Dwight Freeney.

In case you’re too lazy to click the link, I’ve been a big proponent of letting the Classic Colt walk in free agency. The logical reasons are all there, it makes sense. He doesn’t fit well, he’s aging, and there are better targets out there.

Then there was some talk of the Colts possibly re-signing Freeney, and I was scared they might. I was scared they’d pass up the chance to pick up a younger, more natural fit at the position, holding on to the past.

But last week they announced that they’ll let the 33-year old pass rusher go. I let out a sigh of relief. The Colts wouldn’t make the mistake I so feared, letting nostalgia and past accomplishments cloud their judgment.

But now, I kind of wish they did.

I know, I know… I’m soft.

But after reading the comments from Freeney after he found out he would not be re-signed, I started to waver.

“I’ll be honest with you: I was surprised the way it happened, I figured they would offer me something low and I would just accept it, go the last few years and retire a Colt. So I guess a little disappointed…Coach Pagano came in and they could have gotten rid of me before (2012) started; new scheme, different position. But they gave me an opportunity to help the team and stay where I’ve always been.”

Wait, what?

My first thought is that Freeney’s playing the political, just saying anything now because it won’t matter. It very well may have been just that.

But the thoughts kept coming. And I couldn’t get Freeney’s comments out of my mind.

“I figured they would offer me something low and I would just accept it, go the last few years and retire a Colt.”

Is this really the way Freeney was thinking it would happen?

Was he willing to take a significant pay cut, willing to stay in the 3-4, even willing to maybe mentor a rookie OLB/DE hybrid?

I suppose we’ll never really know.

But nevertheless, the unceremonial dumping of a franchise legend that is all-too familiar just doesn’t sit right with the fan in me.

The analyst, the part of me that pretends to be impartial, he’s been arguing for this move. But the fan in me was expecting, or maybe even hoping, that the Colts would stick with the aging vet who got better as the season went on.

Because then I’d get to see that spin move again.

Then I’d get to see the quickest first step in the NFL line up in Colt blue for a couple more years.

Because then I’d avoid what I had to go through when Peyton Manning was cut last season.

Would it have been so bad to allow Freeney to retire as a Colt? Would it have been that hard to fit him in?

I don’t know what the Colts’ plans are. Maybe I should be ecstatic because they’re one step closer to possibly bringing in Anthony Spencer, my 2013  free agency man-crush.

But I can’t see that right now.

All I can see is another all-time great let go, when it sounds like he wanted to stay and retire a Colt. As a fan, that’s how it is supposed to be. Your all-time greats are supposed to be drafted, get a couple paydays, have a few great moments and eventually retire and ride into the sunset with a rousing video montage playing in the background.

Throwing in a “get released” or “let walk in free agency” kills the magic.

I shouldn’t be thinking about this as much as I am. It was an expected move, a DESIRED move and one that will probably be the best move for the future of the franchise.

So why can’t I stop thinking about it?

Kyle J. Rodriguez

About Kyle J. Rodriguez

A film and numbers guru, Kyle writes about the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for Bleacher Report, Draft Mecca and The Football Educator, and is a co-founder and associate editor of Colts Authority. Kyle also is a high school sports reporter for the MLive Media Group in Michigan, covering high school sports across the state.