A GREAT DAY

Coming off his second Pro Bowl season, the Colts announced that safety Antoine Bethea has re-signed with the club.

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Bethea Excited to Re-sign with Team That Believed in Him from the Beginning

Colts safety Antoine Bethea said he is happy.

He is not only happy to be back with his teammates, but also happy that the team that first believed in him still has that belief.

The Indianapolis Colts re-signed the defensive back, who had been a restricted free agent, on Friday.

"We've been able to reach a long-term contract (agreement) with Antoine Bethea," said Colts Vice President and General Manager Chris Polian. "It's a great day, anytime as an organization when you can retain the services of both a person and player of Antoine's contribution to our community and team. We're very happy to announce that. We'd like to thank two parties. First, (Owner and CEO) Mr. (James) Irsay for his ongoing and strong commitment to keep the best team possible on the field as we move forward, and once again stepping up and rewarding a player who has been a significant part of the success we've had the good fortune to have here. As well, as we'd like to thank Antoine and his representatives for working with us over the course of this offseason on being able to get the deal done."

Bethea, a two-time Pro Bowler, said he is happy the business side is done and that he can make football his sole focus.

"You always want to be out there on the field with your comrades, with your friends, your teammates, and just hearing about (OTAs) was tough," Bethea said.

"I think both sides handled it well. It's a big burden off my shoulders. It feels real good. Like Chris said, I'm just thankful for the Colts organization and Mr. Irsay for both sides reaching an agreement and getting it done. Today is a great day for me and my family."

Bethea, a former sixth-round draft choice in 2006 out of Howard, said he still draws motivation from his draft experience.

"I think about that everyday," Bethea said. "That's what drives me everyday when I get up, everyday I go in the weight room and lift those weights, every Sunday I go out there and play. That day I will never forget. It's hard for me to forget that. Being a sixth-round draft pick out of Howard, being overlooked by many teams, being doubted, that's what pushed me.

"Just because I'm here today with a new contract doesn't mean that my play is going to slack. It just gives me more motivation to prove myself and to become a better player.

"Like I've said before, to draft me in the sixth round, and I won't say take a chance on me, but giving me that opportunity to come in and prove myself, it was just something for me. They believed in me. They believed in the talent that they saw. For me to start and end here would be a great deal for me."

The Colts safety has proven himself as one of the league's elite safeties as he enters his fifth season. He has started all 59 games that he has played in and has led the team in tackles the past two seasons.

"My first year here it was just something that the defense wanted to step up and be talked about with the other good defenses in the NFL," Bethea said. "I think the past few years we've done that. We have a lot of good guys on that side of the ball, and hopefully we can continue to improve."

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