INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Pagano loves Jerrell Freeman.
The Colts head coach isn't going to love No. 50 in white on Sunday though.
In a white No. 50 jersey on Sunday afternoon, Freeman is going to be flying around and doing what he has done for the previous four seasons inside of Lucas Oil Stadium---just for the team on the opposite sideline.
"He plays (the game) the way it's supposed to be played," Chuck Pagano said on Wednesday of a linebacker he coached from 2012-15, before free agency took Freeman up I-65 to Chicago.
Freeman gave the Colts four extremely productive years, when the team had to have a new presence in the middle of their defense.
When former starter Pat Angerer went down with a foot injury in the 2012 preseason, the Colts turned the keys to their defense to a Canadian Football Leaguer.
In return, Freeman was a mainstay among the league's leading tacklers showing the sideline-to-sideline ability coveted in the CFL.
But when the 2016 free agency arrived, the Colts had a decision to make.
At the age of 30, and after 61 starts in Indianapolis, Freeman was about to enter his first true NFL free agency.
The Colts were in an offseason where an emphasis was put on getting young defensively.
Did they have the funds to offer Freeman a worthy deal, while still having the space available to ink a much-needed cornerback opposite Vontae Davis?
In the end, the business of the NFL directed Freeman's path to Chicago, where he now is staring at film of the team he called home for four NFL seasons.
"I look at it like it is funny and crazy," Freeman says of knowing that he's facing his former team this weekend. "You are in a new place. You see them on film. I am watching games and it is crazy.
"I guess it is all a part of the NFL, change comes and you just have to be ready. It is the NFL and it is all about change."
With the Bears, Freeman's 41 tackles are the third most in the NFL this season.
Even if Freeman won't admit it publically, the Colts know they are going to see a highly motivated linebacker on the Bears this weekend.
When Freeman was in Indy, he made it clear that games against the Titans, a team that had cut him back in 2008, meant a little more to Free.
Andrew Luck knows who will be trying to chase him down on Sunday and disrupt things for the entire Colts offense.
"I've got a lot of respect for Jerrell Freeman as a player, as a person," Luck says. "He's physical and athletic. He can thump it up in there and also cover guys. He's a preparer and I always admired that when he was here.
"He's one of the better linebackers in the NFL."
Highlights from Freeman's 2015 season!