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Dwight Freeney: Moving to outside linebacker 'is going to be an adjustment'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Most of the chatter about the Colts this offseason revolves around how Andrew Luck will adjust to life as an NFL quarterback, running a team that looked disastrous without Peyton Manning in 2011.

But there are even bigger questions on the defense, where even the superstars are making changes. Most notably, Dwight Freeney, who's making a move from defensive end to outside linebacker. Freeney appeared on NFL Network's "Total Access" this week and pointed out what a big change it would be for him to operate without his hand in the dirt all the time.

"Well, it's going to be an adjustment for me," Freeney said. "I'm a guy who's used to … hand down, going one direction and that's towards the quarterback, towards the running back, whoever's in the backfield. And that line of sight is a comfort level for me when I have my hand down. And now, playing linebacker, it has some similarities, but I'm also going to be dropping in space and running in the opposite direction of the quarterback.

"It's going to be an adjustment, I'm excited for the challenge. It's something new."

Freeney might say he's excited, but you could tell he wasn't that excited about the change. And that's fine because the dude's been putting quarterbacks on their backsides at a successful rate for a long time, and suddenly he's being asked to make a drastic change in the way he operates on defense because of widespread change in the organization.

But despite all that change, Freeney said there was never a question about him remaining a Colt and that all the trade-talk chatter this offseason was just that.

"Absolutely," Freeney said. "They've always had constant contact with me throughout the whole process. That I'm their guy, I'm not leaving, that they want to build the defense around me and what me and Robert [Mathis] do. I heard all the trade talk, and I didn't pay attention to that. I've got one more year on my contract, and I'm playing it out."

Freeney's adjustment will be interesting to see -- Mario Williams made the shift to outside linebacker last year and was having great success before suffering a season-ending injury. If Freeney plays extremely well in the 3-4, maybe he'll end up staying in Indy longer than anyone expects.
 
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