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Pagano Gave Hasselbeck an Out. #8 Said No Thanks.

Hasselbeck tells Pagano he wants to play on despite his injuries.

INDIANAPOLIS --- Matt Hasselbeck joked his family isn't getting any Christmas presents this year. No time to shop, because he's been living at West 56th Street constantly preparing for the next game and in recent weeks constantly getting treatment to recover from his injuries.

His family is just as competitive as Dad. They want to win as much as he does. They understand why this 40-year-old has been tough to spot around the house this month.

His oldest daughter and son do have sympathy for the separated ribs and sore back, but not Hasselbeck's youngest daughter. She told him to suck it up and get back out there.

Chip off the old block.

Like his oldest daughter and son, most Colts fans would probably understand if Hasselbeck took a week off at this point. After all, Chuck Pagano said Monday his back-up quarterback is "beat up from the feet up".

So why does Matt Hasselbeck refuse?

"A lot of reasons really, and Coach Pagano and I had a good talk about that today," Hasselbeck said Wednesday. "He basically kind of gave me a green light if that was how I wanted to handle this."

Hasselbeck said thanks but no thanks.

"I think just who I want to be to the guys in this locker room, and the example you want to set. Everybody's banged up," Hasselbeck explained. "Now is the time to be mentally and physically tough. It gets challenging. We've lost a few games. The atmosphere is not ideal. It can be a little toxic. So we just need guys to stick together, toughen up mentally and physically, and fight."

Hasselbeck could very easily have told Pagano he's too hurt, but when you're around some of the other giants in the Colts locker room who embody toughness, Hasselbeck looked in the mirror and saw a 40-year-old who may be hurt but not injured.

"We've got guys like Robert Mathis and Frank Gore, guys that I've played against that are just absolute studs, warriors, who play through injury, come back from surgery," said Hasselbeck. "It's inspiring to play with those guys. I'm not putting myself in their category at all, but if I can do my part, I'm gonna."

Hasselbeck joked the doctors assured him he wouldn't die on the field, despite his long list of injuries, and that he's "way, way better off this week" than he was going into the last two games at Jacksonville and Houston. He also said he felt like he had a great practice Wednesday, despite being listed as a limited participant on the injury report.

Most would understand if Hasselbeck felt like he needed to take a week off at this point, but he says he doesn't want it.

And for that he is building an even bigger legacy, with even greater respect and from his teammates, coaches, fans, and family...even if it's looking a little light under the Christmas tree at home.


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