INDIANAPOLIS — After 10 seasons, Matt Slauson is calling it a career.
The Indianapolis Colts guard/center on Wednesday announced via his Instagram account that he was retiring from the National Football League:
"It has been 10 ... amazing years," Slauson wrote. "(Four) organizations, and countless friendships. What an amazing dream this has all been. Thanks to all my teammates who have gone into battle with me, the group of coaches that have made me better on and off the fields, the fans that were there no matter what, and especially my wife and kids who supported me through it all."
Colts center Ryan Kelly commented on the post: "It's been an honor, going to miss you brother."
Slauson, who was originally selected by the New York Jets in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, wraps up his career having played in 116 total regular season games with 113 starts with the Jets (2009-2012), the Chicago Bears (2013-15) the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (2016-17) and, finally, the Colts, who signed him as an unrestricted free agent last March.
Slauson was immediately considered not only the team's immediate starter at right guard, but as a valuable veteran who could help develop some of the younger linemen around and behind him — guys like 2018 first-round pick Quenton Nelson, the team's starter at left guard, and 2018 second-round pick Braden Smith, who became Slauson's backup at right guard.
Slauson started the Colts' first five games in 2018 before suffering — and playing through — two fractured vertebrae in his spine Week 5 against the New England Patriots. Although he was placed on injured reserve, head coach Frank Reich elected to have Slauson stick around as a hybrid player/coach for the offensive line.
Slauson would become a key piece to a major improvement up front for the Colts. With a lineup that primarily featured Anthony Castonzo (left tackle), Nelson, Kelly, Mark Glowinski (right guard) and Smith (right tackle) the rest of the season, the Colts would allow a league-low 18 sacks in 2018, one year removed from allowing an NFL-high 56 sacks.
"It’s been really neat just to see him step up as an assistant coach really and just take, especially, the younger players under his wing and just talk to them about fundamentals and technique and then talk to them about just the savvy play; about how you deal with things that happen in games," Reich told reporters about Slauson's coaching role on Nov. 21. "He’s certainly seen it all for as long as he’s played. Man, he’s having a big contribution."
So what's next for Slauson?
First off, he told Colts.com in January that he was cleared health-wise. At the time, Slauson — who was set to become an unrestricted free agent — was still deciding whether or not he wanted to return for an 11th NFL season in 2019.
"I do have the desire to play," Slauson said. "Whether or not it's going to happen, I don't know."
Moving forward, however, Slauson — who has farm land in Nebraska — said his coaching experience with the Colts in 2018 did ignite a passion he didn't previously know existed.
"For the longest time, coaching had never been something I wanted to do," Slauson said. "This experience has opened my eyes to it; that I think I have some of the stuff required to be a coach."