INDIANAPOLIS— Chuck Pagano calls it one of the “toughest” days in football.
The finality of a grinding NFL football season, with a playoff run, has come to a sudden hault for the Indianapolis Colts.
So on Monday, the trash bags and occasional cardboard boxes were near every locker as players removed their belongings for the 2014 offseason.
For Pagano and the coaching staff, Monday was especially difficult knowing that it was the last time THIS Colts team would be together as one.
“There’s places that just make it all about business and wins and losses, and that’s not how we roll around here,” Pagano said. “We also know that the game is going to fade for all of us, but the relationships will never fade. And so we’ll have those for life. So we know whether we’re together next year or not, that relationship will last a lifetime,” Pagano said on Monday.
Impending free agency is on the horizon for several Colts players and roster turnover is an inevitable product of every NFL team.
“I’d love to finish my career here, but at the end of the day, two sides have to come to an agreement,” Bethea said on Monday.
“I had a great time here, great eight years, two Super Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl ring. Most definitely grew up as a player and grew up as a man here in Indianapolis. The community welcomed me with open arms. I want to stay, but we will see.”
“I want to stay here. But we’ll see how it works out,” Brown said.
“This past season was almost like an interviewing process and now you’re just waiting to see what job offers you get. Then just take the one that makes the most sense for myself and my family.”
“It’s the best thing that happened for me,” Davis said of his trade to Indianapolis last year. “Got my career going in the right direction. Looking forward, the sky is the limit.”
“I expect to be in Indy. It’s a great organization. I love playing for this organization.”
While the Colts locker room will have new faces paired with old ones come the start of OTAs on April 21, Pagano wanted his 2013 team to remember what they accomplished this season.
“We did take a step forward,” Pagano said. “We did win a playoff game. We did not reach our ultimate goal. We will continue to chase that goal until we achieve that goal. So I like where we’re at.”