VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER CHRIS POLIAN (opening statement) [
March 5, 2010
"Good afternoon. We thank everybody for coming out on such short notice, but we're obviously excited to be able to stand here today and announce the fact we've been able to reach a contract agreement with LB-Gary Brackett and secure his services as we move forward and continue to improve as a team. As we stated going into this offseason, Gary was the No. 1 priority, and our hope was to retain him. We've been fortunate enough to do so. We'd like to thank (Colts Owner and CEO) Mr. (Jim) Irsay, and his continued commitment to put a competitive and winning team on the field, which is illustrated by Gary's presence and his ability to stay with us. We'd also like to thank and congratulate Gary. Throughout the whole process it was very clear to us in our conversations with Gary and his representatives that Gary's true intent and real hope was to stay a Colt. Both parties were able to work toward that end and get that deal done. We're very thankful for Gary, for his desire to continue to be a Colt and look forward to seeing 58 out there in the future."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on if it is a happy day)
"I think so. Obviously, this was my heart's content the whole season. I wanted to stay here (with) my family and what I've been able to do in the community. I really felt that we had some unfinished business. We went to the Super Bowl this year, but didn't get the job done. I feel like we're right there, we're very competitive, and next year I think it is the same thing over again."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on the security of getting the deal done with all the turmoil surrounding the future of the NFL labor agreement)
"Absolutely, being fortunate enough to be in my seventh year with the CBA turmoil and what's going on with the owners and the players. Being able to get something done before everything plays out (is great). I'm confident that both sides will come to an agreement before there is a lockout. It's good to get the deal done, be able to be back here, and hopefully retire as a Colt."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on if he was looking forward to the first day of free agency or dreading it)
"I knew it was going to almost take up to March 5, just so we can negotiate and both sides could come to a win-win situation. I think we got that accomplished. Mr. Irsay, Chris, as well as (Colts President) Bill (Polian), have been doing a great job of working around the clock, putting the numbers together and making sure they work. I'm happy."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on being in elite company as a veteran linebacker who gets re-signed by the Colts)
"Definitely. I'm honored to be one of those lucky guys who got to stay and finish my career with the Colts. I think it's a testament to how they view me as a player, not only on the field, but what I bring to the team in the locker room."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on if knowing the Colts history of re-signing linebackers gives him any additional satisfaction)
"Definitely. I've spoken this morning with (former Colts linebackers) Cato (June) and David (Thornton). I'm still very close friends with those guys. They congratulated me and said, 'this is a great place to play.' If you have a chance to stay a Colt for life you usually jump at it, and that's why I wanted to do everything within my power and reason to make this my home."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on if he teased Cato June and David Thornton about being able to re-sign with the Colts)
"No, no teasing. We have a great relationship. I think those guys were just happy for me. Obviously, very proud of what I've been able to do in my seven years as a Colt and be able to remain here."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on what he did for the few hours that he was an unrestricted free agent)
"I was up. I fielded a couple of calls. I knew deep down where I wanted to be. I knew we were close to getting something done. It took a little bit after that to secure a deal, but we got something done and we're both happy and got it taken care of."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on being awake after midnight)
"Yes, I was awake. I went to the movies yesterday. It was a regular evening for me. I knew the party was going to get started at 12. That's usually the time things take place. It happened fast."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on being able to continue his career as a Colt)
"I think how we're viewed outside of this building, how we're viewed in our community, how we're viewed nationally as a Colt, (is as) people who do it the right way. That means a lot to me, to not only be successful on the field, but off the field. We have high character guys. That really stems from our organization, our owner Jim Irsay, all the way down. Guys really take that personal as far as what we mean, what impact we have on our community, guys are out there and doing a great job. It means a lot to me to be a part of something that I think is going to be long lasting. When my career is done, I will still have an impact on this community."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on if he's watched a replay of Super Bowl XLIV)
"I've watched some of the highlights, but I haven't been able to watch the game yet. I'm sure I will do that before the other guys get back so we can talk about some things. It was just a tough game, but like I said, I think we have some more games to be played, and hopefully we can get right back there."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on seeing teammates leave and the constant change on NFL rosters)
"It's a part of the game. I think in this game you never know. Sometimes things come full circle and guys are able to come back. I don't know what the situation is. A part of the game is that our team we had last year will never be the same team. Guys are going to move on, guys are going to go different places, guys are not going to make the roster next season. You just have to do what you have to do to get in shape and continue to go out there and be successful."
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on if it is a pinch me moment when he looks back at his career and how it started)
"I think so. It's been a long road. I've definitely been through a lot. On the field, I've been through a lot of victories here. I've won over 100 games in my seven-year career, obviously having 12 wins in seven consecutive seasons. But off the field, I guess I've faced a lot of turmoil as well, with everything that has happened with my family and the situation I'm in now, catering and helping my family out still. It's still tough. I think having the opportunity to reach the pinnacle of your career, to be in your prime, to be rewarded for all of the hard work you've endured, I guess when I retire I can look back on this and say, 'I guess I accomplished a lot in my career.'"
LB-GARY BRACKETT (on if he has five years left in his body)
"I think so. I actually left my Pilates class a little early to get here and be in front of you all. Pilates, hot yoga, get a little flexibility back in these bones. The Colts do a good job of taking care of your body as a veteran. My part is to just do my part and keep that hunger, what got me here, what kept me here, and let that continue on for five more years."