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Indianapolis Colts

2016 Colts Free Agent Watch: Matt Hasselbeck

Intro: Over the next few weeks, will take a look at the team’s unrestricted free agents. Next up is veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.


INDIANAPOLIS – Nearly 20 years ago, Matt Hasselbeck was just hoping for some gear.

Hasselbeck, the 1998 sixth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers, wasn't walking into the team's minicamp thinking a roster spot was cemented.

No, all he wanted was…a pair of shorts.

"The honest thought I had in my head was, 'Well, I wonder if they will let me keep the shorts. That would be cool to have some Packers' shorts to show my kids someday,'" Hasselbeck says of his mindset as a rookie in 1998.

"I thought they were fools for taking a chance on me. I thought, 'What a wasted pick. No one was going to draft me.' I'm glad they knew something that I didn't."

With the calendar turned to 2016, not even the Packers could have envisioned the longevity Hasselbeck has achieved in 18 NFL seasons.

-Will there be a 19th?

-Will it be in Indianapolis?

Those are the questions that will likely be answered by Hasselbeck, soon, and by the Colts (or another team) in the next month and a half.

Let's start with the first question: Does Hasselbeck, an unrestricted free agent, want to play in a season he will turn 41 years of age come September?

"Next year maybe for sure," Hasselbeck said at the close of this past season.

"If you ask me on a Sunday after a game with an ice pack on my shoulder, it's probably not the time to get the best response out of me. But I'm encouraged. I'm encouraged about the possibility. Haven't really made any decisions, but I think with how this year went I feel good. But we'll see."

Even in a season where several injuries ultimately forced him out of the lineup, Hasselbeck still was able to see the bigger picture of his individual play.

When Hasselbeck was healthy, the Colts were 4-0 with him under center before injuries sent him out of games each of the next four weeks.

That's where the Colts side of things comes into play.

Do the Colts believe Hasselbeck can still be a serviceable backup at the age of 41?

The three-time Pro Bowler obviously showed he could be (before the injuries), but he now has some competition on the roster.

Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley, both quarterbacks who signed in Week 17 and played in the regular season finale, are under contract in 2016.

Is it time for the Colts to try and groom a younger quarterback behind Andrew Luck?

No matter what happens for Hasselbeck in the coming weeks, he has plenty of shorts to show his kids.

"I really wasn't sure what it would be like playing if I had to play an extended period of time (this season)," Hasselbeck pondered a few weeks ago after not seeing significant game action in 2013 and 2014. "Aside from a couple of things, it went pretty well for me.

"Obviously, I wish I hadn't gotten hurt against Pittsburgh. That really kind of changed the trajectory of my season and a little bit of our season. That's really unfortunate, but for me more than anything (playing this year) was a lot of fun being in the huddle with the guys. I love the guys in this locker room. I'd stack the guys in this locker room up against any team I've been on just in terms of quality people, a lot of potential, a lot of talent. When I'm done playing, I think I'll really enjoy watching them play and cheering them on."

When that cheering begins for Hasselbeck is the question.

ICYMI: Colts Free Agent Watch: Jerrell Freeman![](/team/roster/jerrell-freeman/75581fef-6324-49ac-b4ac-b225da769660/ "Jerrell Freeman")

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