Jeff Saturday has always been one of my favorite players. The reason why is quiet consistency. In 10 years as a Colt, he's missed just six games, an incredible achievement considering he plays one of the most violent positions on the field, getting his head and gonads beat in almost every play. He's started 138 regular-season games and is the key to a unit that allowed only 178 sacks during that time, the fewest in football.
Saturday has done this without being a diva or begging for attention. There's been no clownish, Uncle Tom behavior or logging onto the police blotter. Just constant good play and Pro Bowls made.
Now, there's a chance he's gone from Indianapolis. Let's be clear: this isn't Colts bashing, just a taste of reality of how the NFL works. The fact Indianapolis has allowed Saturday to test free agency instead of signing him to a deal that would've seen Saturday stay a Colt for life is somewhat stunning to me. Sure, he's 33-years-old and sure the Colts' Bill Polian is a brilliant personnel person but if Saturday plays his Sundays for another team it would be one of the few egregious errors Polian has ever made.
Saturday said in an interview with CBSSports.com that he was somewhat shocked the Colts allowed him to become a free agent. He won't criticize the Colts. That's not his style. But he remains stunned nonetheless.
"I'll be honest," Saturday said, "I really don't know how I ended up at this point. My first choice is to stay in Indianapolis. I've built strong relationships with players there and don't want to leave. But it might come to that.
"I never saw me going anywhere. I didn't really see this coming. I've spoken with the Colts for almost a year about this. I fully expected to finish my career in Indianapolis and I hope I can but now I don't know."
Some teams (and many fans) take players like Saturday for granted. They think you can plug any fat body in a center and things will be fine. But there are centers and then there are players like Saturday who along with Peyton Manning controlled the complicated calls along the offensive line.
Losing someone like Saturday will hurt the Colts no matter what the Colts or anyone else contends to the contrary.
Get cocky with Saturday at your own risk, Indy Colts.
Get cocky at your own risk.