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Dwight Freeney looking forward to move to OLB in Colts new defense

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Freeney admits his new role is "going to be interesting" but adds that Pagano's defense is "a proven system." (Getty Images)

Back in March, when the Colts parted ways with Peyton Manning and veterans Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt, the thinking was that Reggie Wayne and Dwight Freeney, might not be long for Indianapolis, either.

If the Colts were fully embracing a youth movement with new head coach Chuck Pagano and soon-to-be franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, a proper housecleaning was in order. Except that Indy re-signed Wayne and not only decided to keep Freeney, but will move him and his $14 million base salary in 2012 from defensive end to outside linebacker in Pagano's new 3-4 defense.

Despite the upheaval on the roster and in the scheme, Freeney maintains that he wanted to stay in Indy.

“I'm kind of old school when it comes to that thought,” Freeney told Alex Marvez and Bill Polian during an appearance on Sirius XM Radio earlier this week. "I'm more like the era of Magic (Johnson) and Lawrence Taylor, who stayed with that same team for their entire careers win, lose, or draw. They were married to the city they were drafted in. You go through the tough times and great times with them, and that's it. That's what I'm looking forward to.

“You don't know what's going to happen. I can get traded. They may want to go in a different direction. Maybe I can't handle the (defensive) scheme. You have all those possibilities. But, personally, I would love to stay.”

The Colts opened their offseason training program last month and Freeney, who spent a decade perfecting his pass-rushing moves, will now have to transition to a new position.

“For me, it's just getting familiar with all those nuances,” he told Marvez and Polian. “My line of sight, walking around (pre-snap), dropping into coverage — I'm doing those things. It's going to take a little time at the beginning to get used to and as comfortable as I have been having my hand in the ground (at end) and being in one position.”

Last week, Freeney admitted that his new role was "going to be interesting" but also acknowledged that Pagano's defense is "a proven system."

According to the Indianapolis Star, Freeney's spoken with Ravens' safety Ed Reed and middle linebacker Ray Lewis about the scheme Pagano brought with him from Baltimore.

“They love (Pagano). They love the system.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.
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