INDIANAPOLIS – Matt Hasselbeck is healthy.
That is the most important thing, before Hasselbeck begins to discuss a desire to play a 19th NFL season.
After having to exit four consecutive games last December due to a variety of injuries, Hasselbeck won't receive any criticism if he decides to call it a career.
But the taste of playing again, and doing it well (when healthy) has Hasselbeck ready for another run.
"You have to reevaluate at the end of every year where you are and where people you trust think you are," Hasselbeck told Colts.com about his offseason process. "I rely heavily on the advice of coaches, people who evaluate football talent and people who know me best---my family and friends.
"I know I want to play (in 2016). I know how much fun I had in the huddle last year. I remember getting in the huddle for one game and it was just so much fun to be in there with my guys, with my teammates, with my friends. I remember one time (tight end) Jack Doyle had this smile on his face and I was like, 'Jack, what's so funny?' (Doyle said,) 'Oh, it's just so great to see you out there.'"
Chuck Pagano is one of those people Hasselbeck trusts.
Earlier this month, Hasselbeck sat down with his head coach wanting to hear the truth.
"I said, 'Chuck, be brutally honest, evaluate me, do you think I should continue playing?'"
Hasselbeck wanted to hear the constructive criticism and an honest opinion.
Pagano's answer to Hasselbeck: "Hey, we love you. We would love to have you back."
With free agency still three weeks away, the early signs point to Hasselbeck returning as Andrew Luck's backup for a fourth straight season.
As Hasselbeck begins his look towards another season, he knows where the extra drive must come.
"I think I can play and play well," Hasselbeck says.
"What I do know is that I have to continue to train and work harder than everybody else. I think that's the thing I have to weigh in my decision. Am I willing to work harder than everybody else? Am I willing to do extra, willing to do things that need to be done to play at my age? And I think I am."
The final answer to those questions will be resolved in the coming weeks with free agency starting on March 9.
Until then, the unknown remains.
"At the end of every year you try to put the pieces together of a puzzle, try to put a team together to win a championship," Hasselbeck says, explaining the free agency process.
"If I'm a part of it, it would be a huge honor and I would attack that goal."