Colts Again Turn To Matt Hasselbeck With Andrew Luck Sidelined

Intro: For the second time in 2015, the Colts will turn to Matt Hasselbeck to take the reigns under center.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Back in February, Matt Hasselbeck sat in the radio studio at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center and pondered why he turned down chances to be a starting quarterback.

The then 39-year-old Hasselbeck had re-signed with the Colts for an 18th NFL season, knowing Indianapolis wasn't going to offer a chance to be *the guy *under center.

Hasselbeck wanted to come back to the Colts, but wasn't sure where he fit in with a team filled with Super Bowl aspirations.

"For sure this was a great fit for me," Hasselbeck said in February. "I had to see if this was a great fit for them. That's the part you just never know as a player.

"I understand, too, that they have to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and sometimes they have to say goodbye to guys that are good players..."

The Colts didn't say goodbye to Hasselbeck and the reason why was seen earlier this season, and it has arisen again.

Matt Hasselbeck is the Colts starting quarterback, for up to the next six weeks, as Indianapolis tries to secure another playoff spot nursing a one-game divisional lead.

With Andrew Luck sidelined for two-to-six weeks with a lacerated kidney, the Colts turn to the second-longest tenured quarterback in the NFL to lead them through a critical stretch.

The Colts are 2-0 this season with Hasselbeck under center. Now, they could be using him for half their season.

"We've got all the confidence in the world, obviously, and we're very fortunate to have Matt Hasselbeck as our backup quarterback," Chuck Pagano said on Tuesday.

"Certainly from a confidence standpoint from players, coaches and everybody in this organization to know that you got a guy that's got the volume of snaps and plays under his belt and the experience of Matt, and the fact that he's gone out and won two football games for you already this year is obviously very positive moving forward."

Pagano said on Tuesday that the Colts are exploring backup options behind Hasselbeck going forward. Josh Johnson, who "backed up" Hasselbeck earlier this season, isn't an option because he's on the Bills roster.

The Colts currently have two open roster spots on their 53-man roster.

One of the more remarkable aspects of Luck's injury is he not only stayed in Sunday's game post injury but was 5-of-7 for 64 yards and a touchdown after suffering the lacerated kidney on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Prior to Luck's injury being announced on Tuesday, quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen summed up the "never-give" up mentality of No. 12.

"He's so darn competitive," Christensen said.

"He doesn't want to go down, he doesn't want to slide, he doesn't want to throw the ball away."

That description was why Hasselbeck was so amazed with the durability of Luck back in February.

Despite Luck playing quarterback with a "physical, hard-nosed style", a backup quarterback hasn't been needed for in Indianapolis, prior to this season.

It's needed now.

Being the starting quarterback wasn't atop Hasselbeck's priority list when he signed up for NFL season No. 18.

It is now.

"This is a building that is used to winning," Hasselbeck said back in February.

"We have banner upon banner upon banner in our facility and we have our Lombardi Trophy. That's the goal every year."

The franchise quarterback is sidelined, but the head coach's belief for that end goal is still alive and well.

"We will win football games with Matt," Pagano said on Tuesday.

"We will overcome this, and Andrew will make a full-recovery. We all know that, and he'll be back in the lineup at some point. We will overcome."

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