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FREE AGENT SPOTLIGHT: MATT HASSELBECK

Posted Mar 19, 2013

The Colts signed a familiar face to fans on Tuesday morning. Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck heads to Indianapolis to serve as Andrew Luck’s backup after 15 seasons in the NFL.


INDIANAPOLIS – With just two quarterbacks on the Colts roster, and one with zero NFL experience, the need was there for a veteran presence in a young signal caller’s room.

 

How does a three-time Pro Bowler with 15 years of NFL experience sound?

 

On Tuesday morning, the Colts signed veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck who will turn 38 years old in September.

 

‘His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves,” Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson said of Hasselbeck. “Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”

 

Hasselbeck broke into the NFL in 1998 and after two seasons with the Green Bay Packers, he played the next decade with the Seattle Seahawks.

 

In Seattle, Hasselbeck earned Pro Bowl honors in 2003, 2005 and 2007 and played in 11 postseason contests, including an appearance in Super Bowl XL.

 

Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano is out in Arizona for the NFL Owner’s Meetings this week but he gave Hasselbeck a ring last night letting him know the offer was on the table.

 

“I was really excited and fired up after talking to coach Pagano last night,” Hasselbeck said. “This isn’t something that (my family) took lightly. We are very, very excited about the opportunity.”

 

Over his 15 NFL seasons, Hasselbeck has a 2-2 record as a starter against his new team and gave Indianapolis its first road loss of the 2005 season in a Christmas Eve meeting.

 

Hasselbeck has called the AFC South home for the last two seasons, serving as both a starter and a backup for the Tennessee Titans.

 

In four career starts against the Colts (three with the Titans), Hasselbeck is a 72.4 percent passer with his most recent start coming last season in the Colts’ 19-13 overtime victory over the Titans on Oct. 28.

 

Last year, Hasselbeck started a total of five games for the Titans while filling in for injured starter Jake Locker.

 

The Titans dropped both meetings to the Colts last season, with Luck engineering a pair of second-half comebacks.

 

Hasselbeck found Luck’s presence to be the most dominant trait in a team transforming itself from the bottom of the league into one that made the playoffs.

 

“(Luck) was a difference maker for that football team. From one year to the next, the most obvious difference was the quarterback,” Hasselbeck said.

 

“I just have a ton of respect for the kind of season that he had and the toughness that he showed in the pocket. He got beat up pretty good but he always came back for more, never rattled.”

 

While Luck took every snap for the Colts in 2012, Hasselbeck knows that is an anomaly for NFL quarterbacks.

 

Preparing as a starter is how Hasselbeck will go about his week-by-week business in 2013, wanting a chance to achieve the ultimate goal of getting back to the grandest stage.

 

“I feel like that I can help strengthen the team by being ready to go, being a guy that this team can count on, if necessary,” Hasselbeck said.

 

“I wanted to be part of something special. I wanted to be part of a team that has a chance to win a Super Bowl and I wanted to be working with really quality people.”

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