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Colts announce 7 team captains for 2023 season

Head coach Shane Steichen made the announcement on Thursday. 


Colts head coach Shane Steichen on Thursday announced seven team captains for the 2023 season.

The seven players were voted captains by their teammates. They are:

Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner

Years as captain: 5 (2018-2019 with 49ers, 2021-2023 with Colts)

One of the NFL's most consistent interior defensive line playmakers since his debut in 2016, Buckner brings been-there, done-that experience to a young Colts roster. Buckner is a two-time Pro Bowler and 2020 first-team AP All-Pro, and has appeared in four playoff games – including posting 1 1/2 sacks in Super Bowl LIV.

Linebacker Zaire Franklin

Years as captain: 4 (2020-2023 with Colts)

Franklin is a shining example for anyone on the Colts – from first-round picks to undrafted free agents scrapping to make the roster – of how hard work can pay off in Indianapolis. A 2018 seventh-round pick, Franklin committed himself to special teams early in his career, earning captaincies for his four-phase play on that side of the ball in 2020 and 2021. After signing a contract extension in 2022, Franklin rewarded the Colts by taking full advantage of his first opportunity to consistently play on defense, setting a new team record with 166 tackles last season.

Linebacker Shaquille Leonard

Years as captain: 5 (2019-2023 with Colts)

The Colts' emotional, energetic leader continued to inspire teammates from the sidelines during a trying 2022 season, and his return to the field in 2023 has already been defined by a return of the signature juice brought every day by "The Maniac." Leonard is a three-time first-team AP All-Pro and established himself as one of the NFL's most potent takeaway machines over the first few years of his career.

Center Ryan Kelly

Years as captain: 1 (2023 with Colts)

Kelly, a three-time Pro Bowler, is the longest-tenured member of the Colts. Along with his fellow captain Quenton Nelson, Kelly and the Colts' offensive line have worked this year to set a high standard not just for themselves, but for the entire offense heading into the 2023 season.

Cornerback Kenny Moore II

Years as captain: 2 (2022-2023 with Colts)

Moore is one of the players who sets the pace of practice on defense with his play, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said, when it comes to how physical and fast things should look every time the Colts step on the field. His journey from being an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots to being a waiver-wire pickup by the Colts and growing his career on and off the field in Indianapolis – including earning Pro Bowl honors and the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year nomination – is one that's inspired teammates for years.

Guard Quenton Nelson

Years as captain: 3 (2021-2023 with Colts)

The physical tone and no-nonsense standard set by Nelson has earned him captain honors in each of the last three seasons. Nelson, too, is the only player in franchise history to earn spots in five consecutive Pro Bowls to begin his career; Nelson also was named a first-team AP All-Pro in 2018, 2019 and 2020 and a second-team AP All-Pro in 2021.

Quarterback Anthony Richardson

Years as captain: 1 (2023 with Colts)

While Richardson may be a 21-year-old rookie, he carries himself with a combination of poise, confidence and humility that's endeared him to his teammates over the last few months. The Colts named Richardson their starting quarterback for the 2023 season in mid-August, and now will ride behind the No. 4 overall pick not only as QB1, but as a team captain.

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