The Colts and left guard Quenton Nelson agreed to a contract extension on Saturday, keeping the three-time first team All-Pro in Indianapolis for the long term.
In earning first-team AP All Pro honors in 2018, 2019 and 2020, Nelson became only the fifth player in the last 50 years to be named a first team AP All-Pro in each of his first three seasons in the NFL (joining Earl Campbell, Keith Jackson, Barry Sanders and Lawrence Taylor).
Nelson earned second-team AP All-Pro honors in 2021. He was voted as the 28th-best player in the NFL for the 2022 season by fellow players around the league.
The mauling Nelson also was named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, becoming the second player in Colts history to earn Pro Bowl nods in each of his first four seasons (fullback Alan Ameche also did so from 1955-1958).
"Everyone knows what great ability he has, but I think what makes Quenton special is how smart he plays and how instinctive he is," head coach Frank Reich said. "I think that's what takes his game over the top. He's a physically dominant player, but it's his instincts and his intelligence that take him I think to another level. During the game, he's one of those guys where if he says, 'Hey, here's what I'm seeing and feeling,' like over the years, you go back and look at the tape and he's always right as far as what he's seeing and feeling. So, you trust him."
Nelson is the sixth member of the Colts' 2018 draft class to sign a contract extension, following right tackle Braden Smith, linebacker Shaquille Leonard, running back Nyheim Hines, linebacker Zaire Franklin and defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis.
Since the start of the 2018 season, only three other guards have allowed fewer sacks than Nelson (five), while he's one of eight guards in that span to have a PFF pass block grade over 80. The Colts are tied for having the fewest sacks allowed (103) in the NFL since Nelson's debut in 2018.
And from 2018-2021, only two guards earned a higher PFF run blocking grade than Nelson (87.8); the Colts have had three 1,000-yard rushers behind Nelson (Marlon Mack in 2019; Jonathan Taylor in 2020 and 2021).
But Nelson's impact on the Colts goes well beyond his statistics and accolades. The two-time team captain is one of the key players in setting the tone for what the Colts' offense has wanted to be since he arrived in 2018.
"Quenton, he is a generational player that – I'm sorry, I see (John) Hannah and I see him of the last hundred years. I mean that's how good Quenton is," Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay said in 2021. "As far as leadership and the type of team guy he is, it's off the charts. He is why the Colts are a physical team. When you're coming to play us, you are coming to play the Big Q and he is the guy that represents us out there and everyone on this roster knows."