INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay today announced that legendary defensive end Dwight Freeney will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor Nov. 10 during the team’s Week 10 matchup against the Miami Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Freeney will become the 16th honoree to join the Colts’ Ring of Honor, joining: Owner Robert Irsay (1996), WR-Bill Brooks (1998), Head Coach Ted Marchibroda (2000), OL-Chris Hinton (2001), QB-Jim Harbaugh (2005), “Colts Nation” (2007), Head Coach Tony Dungy (2010), WR-Marvin Harrison (2011), RB-Edgerrin James (2012), RB-Eric Dickerson and RB-Marshall Faulk (2013), C-Jeff Saturday (2015), General Manager Bill Polian (2016), QB-Peyton Manning (2017) and WR-Reggie Wayne (2018).
A dominating pass rusher and cornerstone of the historic Colts teams of the 2000s, Freeney played 11 seasons (2002-12) with the Colts after being selected by the team in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft out of Syracuse.
Irsay said in a release last week that “from the first day Dwight Freeney stepped on the field we knew he was special.”
“Sixteen seasons later, Dwight exceeded every expectation we had and became one of the game’s best pass rushers ever,” Irsay continued. “He was an artist and a terror on the field, and his patented spin move was a nightmare for every offensive lineman he faced. More importantly, he was a leader in the locker room and a gentleman off the field who represented the Horseshoe with honor. We are proud to have his name and legacy live alongside the greatest Colts to play this game.”
As a Colt, Freeney was a three-time Associated Press First Team All-Pro and a seven-time Pro Bowl selection. He was a member of the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI championship team during the 2006 campaign and played in two more Super Bowls, one as a Colt and one as a member of the Atlanta Falcons.
He would eventually match up with Robert Mathis to form one of the most feared pass-rushing duos in NFL history.
Over 16 NFL seasons, Freeney played in 218 career games (157 starts) with the Colts, San Diego Chargers (2013-14), Arizona Cardinals (2015), Falcons (2016), Seattle Seahawks (2017) and Detroit Lions (2017). He totaled 341 tackles (292 solo), 63.0 tackles for loss, 125.5 sacks, 16 passes defensed, 47 forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He retired from the NFL as a member of the Colts in 2018.
Freeney finished his career tied for 17th in NFL history in sacks and fifth in forced fumbles. He also appeared in 22 postseason contests (19 starts) and compiled 38 tackles (30 solo), 6.0 tackles for loss, 11.0 sacks, one pass defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Upon his retirement, Freeney ranked tied for fifth in league history in career postseason sacks.
“Honored and humbled to be inducted into the Colts Ring of Honor,” Freeney tweeted last Thursday after the team announced the news at its annual Town Hall event. “It was truly special being part of an incredible organization with amazing teammates and unbelievable fans. I loved every minute of my time there.”
After being selected by Indianapolis in the first round (11th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft, Freeney saw action in 163 games (143 starts) for the Colts and tallied 307 tackles (267 solo), 48.0 tackles for loss, 107.5 sacks, 14 passes defensed, 44 forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He ranks second in team history in career sacks.
Freeney registered a sack in 81 games and had 25 multi-sack games, which each rank second-most in team history. In 11 seasons in Indianapolis, he compiled seven seasons with 10.0 or more sacks, including a career-high 16.0 sacks in 2004 (second-most in single-season team history). As a rookie in 2002, Freeney set the Colts rookie sack record with 13.0.