First and foremost, I would like to thank God, for giving me the opportunity to play a game that I love much longer than I ever would have anticipated.
I couldn’t have done this without my wife, Julie, and her unwavering love and support during my career. She’s the one who kept me humble in the successes, and has lifted me when I was down. She has stood by side through all the highs and lows, from Super Bowls to injuries, and always supported my decisions. I would never have made it to this point without her. I am extremely excited about having more family time with our daughter, Ashlyn, and our boys Luke and Zach.
My parents deserve a lot of credit for where I am today. They taught me the core values of hard work and perseverance from a young age. My father, Greg, volunteered his time to coach me starting in 3rd grade, and my mother, Diane, made sure I was always well fed and cared for. I’m sure my life could have taken a completely different path without their love and guidance. I am truly blessed with a wonderful family that has probably set an all time record for Colts tickets purchased by a player. All kidding aside, it has been amazing to have my parents, my sister Kari, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, and everyone in between attend so many games over the past 11 years. The games were only a small part of the family weekends that were so important to me. My parents are the ultimate road warriors, and I can count on one hand the number of games they missed out of 150 starts. That is something that is very unique in this game and very special to me. I can only hope to have that kind of energy and love to support my own children.
My agent, Cliff Brady, is one of the best in the business, and I appreciate the guidance he has given me over the years. He has become like family to me; someone I know I can always trust to help make the right decisions.
Of course, I also have to thank my friends that have made several trips down I-65 from Chicago to visit and cheer on the Colts. I think I have done a pretty good job of showing several Bears fans what Colts football is all about, and converting most of them to the correct shade of blue.
As for my Colts family, I appreciate the trust that Mr. Irsay has put in me throughout my career. I must thank Bill Polian for drafting me in 2001, and giving me an opportunity to prove myself at this level. Bill and Chris built a team that I am very proud to have been a part of – a team of great character and work ethic that led to great success. I have been fortunate to remain part of this club during three different head coaches starting with Jim Mora, Tony Dungy, and finally Jim Caldwell. Each man has left their impression on me, and taught me things that I will carry forward in life. Of course, I need to thank Howard Mudd for developing me into the player that I became, and also giving us all some of life’s best anecdotes. Although his teaching might have seemed unorthodox at first, the end result is what is important. It’s not usually until several years later, that players would understand Howard’s method, and learn to appreciate it. I can certainly say that he molded my view on football and the world. I must also thank Pete Metzelaars for continuing to educate and mentor me on and off the field. I can’t forget Jon Torine and Rich Howell (our strength and conditioning coaches), our training staff, and equipment crew – these are people that are behind the scenes that support the players and give us the opportunity to be at our best every week. I have had the pleasure of working with many wonderful people over the past 11 seasons, and I truly appreciate all they have done for me.
And to all my Colts brothers, we have seen a lot, experienced a lot, and learned a lot about each other and ourselves. There isn’t any other club in the NFL that had what we had over the past decade or so. I’m not even talking about the wins; I’m talking about the camaraderie and leadership in our locker room. We all know several players that have been on other teams, and always say that it’s different elsewhere. I feel so fortunate to have been in that locker room with teammates that I can call life long friends and men that would hold each other accountable on and off the field. I am proud of the standard that has been set in our locker room and hope that the traditions of excellence and great character continue on.
I want to thank the city of Indianapolis for opening their arms to my family and me. Our fans have proved to me that Indianapolis has truly become a football town. The growth and support I have witnessed over the past 11 years has been impressive. Our goal was to give you something to be proud of on Sundays, and to represent the community all week long. I have many great memories over the years, but my favorite all time game is the AFC Championship game against the Patriots. That, for me, was the best game I have ever been a part of and by far the loudest stadium I have ever heard. I will surely miss running out in front of a sold out crowd every Sunday, but look forward to supporting the team and community in any way possible.
There are so many more people that have played a role in molding me into the man that I am today, and for that I am eternally grateful. All of the coaches that taught me along the way deserve a lot of credit including my father Greg; my high school coaches at Glenbard North H.S. Mark Hahn, Jeff Cherry, Dave Berdis, and Dale Evans; my Northern Illinois University coaching staff especially Joe Novak and Dan Roushar.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!