INDIANAPOLIS — Clayton Geathers wants to return to the Indianapolis Colts in 2019.
For the Colts, the feeling is mutual.
The two sides will begin working on possibly turning those desires into reality soon, according to Chris Ballard, who said he’s expecting to begin contract discussions with Geathers’ agent this week in Indy.
“Do we want Clayton back? Yes. We want Clayton back,” the third-year Colts general manager told local reporters Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We’ll have some good talks with his agent this week.”
A fourth-round pick of the Colts in the 2015 NFL Draft, Geathers, 26, is set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career when the new league year begins Feb. 13.
The team’s starting strong safety, when healthy, was a key piece to a resurgent Indianapolis defense in 2018. In 12 games, Geathers racked up 86 tackles (one for a loss) and also added two quarterback hits, three passes defensed and one forced fumble.
But Geathers’ all-out playing style has led to an at-times injury-plagued start to an otherwise promising career. In four seasons, Geathers has missed 23 games due to injury, 18 of which were related to the same neck injury and surgery that cost him much of the 2016 season and spilled into 2017.
In 2018, Geathers battled through a concussion, as well as neck and knee injuries, oftentimes keeping him off the practice field — and even, on four occasions, keeping him out of the lineup on gameday.
Along the way, however, Geathers more than gained Ballard’s respect.
“I love everything Clayton Geathers stands for,” Ballard said of Geathers after the season. “I watched (this) guy every week fight his tail off to get ready to play.”
Geathers’ impending free agency is just one of many offseason storylines at the safety position for the Colts, as four other safeties — Mike Mitchell (unrestricted), J.J. Wilcox (unrestricted), Matthias Farley (restricted) and Corey Moore (restricted) — are also set to hit the market come March 13.
"I want to be here. I want to be a Colt,” Geathers told Colts.com last month. “(I’m) just gonna handle this offseason with an open mind, communicate well and then just go from there."