INDIANAPOLIS – Jeff Saturday spent 13 memorable seasons wearing the horseshoe and the club’s blue and white colors.
The almost-retired Saturday soon will tie a bow on his career by donning his Colts jersey one more time to commemorate and end his playing days.
Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay announced today Saturday’s near future will include a retirement event with the club and that he would have a presence with the team going forward.
Saturday joined the Colts in 1999 as an undrafted free agent. Over the next 13 seasons, he helped anchor an offensive line that allowed the franchise to enjoy one of its best eras.
The Colts were 13-3 in Saturday’s first season, a 10-game jump from 1998. He was one of the pieces brought to Indianapolis that would reap huge dividends for years.
The Colts won the AFC East that year and when Indianapolis was shifted to the newly-created AFC South in 2002, it was ready for a tremendous run.
The Colts won division crowns from 2003-07 and from 09-10. Indianapolis won 115 regular-season games from 2000-09, the NFL’s winningest decade.
Saturday helped the line rank first or tied for first in fewest sacks allowed in 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010. In 2003, the team led the AFC in fewest quarterback takedowns.
From 1998-2010, the line allowed but 243 sacks in 7,668 dropbacks, or one per every 31.6 called pass plays.
Saturday opened his career at guard, then shifted to center, making line calls for an offense that annually gained 5,000 net yards.
Saturday stands as one of 14 Colts to win 100 or more regular-season games in a career. His 132 wins tie John Unitas for second place in franchise history behind Peyton Manning (141).
Saturday started 188-of-197 appearances with the Colts, tying the fourth-most number of games played in franchise history. His 13 seasons are tied for third-most, while his 19 playoff game appearances tie the club record.
With the Colts, Saturday was a five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time first-team All-Pro. Saturday and Manning set the NFL record with 170 career starts as a QB-C tandem. The Colts were 120-50 in those games, and the .706 winning percentage was better than any of the six other NFL QB-C duos who had more than 100 starts together.
Saturday (Green Bay) and Manning (Denver) made the Pro Bowl this past season, and they were paired for one final ceremonial snap. Saturday’s soon-to-be official retirement will draw a close to a great career.