INDIANAPOLIS – You wouldn't expect a recently turned 40-year old quarterback with more than 200 games of NFL experience to feel nerves on game day.
Matt Hasselbeck doesn't need to apologize for his pre-game antsiness on Sunday. Or incorrectly entering the offensive huddle next to left tackle (like he was used to in Seattle and Tennessee), instead of from the direction of the Colts sideline.
No apology is necessary when you start your first NFL game in three seasons and put together a sound effort, reminiscent of why Hasselbeck is still hanging around a league that typically has no time for 40-somethings.
Following Sunday's 16-13 overtime victory over the Jaguars, Hasselbeck spoke to Sports Illustrated's Peter King about his early jitters.
"It was really fun running out of the tunnel," Hasselbeck told King. "I was so jacked up. I felt like William Wallace in Braveheart. I sort of lost my composure, and the first two passes I threw were waaaaay off-target. I got to the sideline and said to myself, 'Dude, you need to CHILL OUT!' "
A behind the scenes look at the Colts locker room following their win over the Jaguars.
For the first time in his three seasons with the Colts, Hasselbeck wasn't popping the earpiece in after pre-game intros.
The helmet was staying on Hasselbeck and he would be under center with Andrew Luck left to being the "coach" on the sidelines.
Re-watching the television copy from Sunday's overtime victory and Luck's excitement was evident watching his classroom mate.
With their roles reversed on Sunday, Hasselbeck definitely appreciated the insight Luck provided in-between series, and throughout the 70-plus minute contest.
"(Luck) was extremely helpful," Hasselbeck said on Monday. "He was (even) getting the crowd into it when our defense was out there on third-down.
"Even if he wasn't talking to me, he was communicating stuff to the offensive line, to the running backs, to the wide receivers. We don't win that game without him on the sidelines as into it as he was. He was a great help."
Come Thursday night in Houston, Hasselbeck expects to have his familiar sideline-look.
Hasselbeck's performance on Sunday defined the role every NFL team is searching for in a backup.
Last week, Hasselbeck executed his rare on-the-field duties.
Is he back to his normal in-game role on Thursday in Houston?
"(Houston) is (Luck's) hometown. He doesn't give me any snaps in practice. I know that if he can make it happen, he's going to make it happen," Hasselbeck says of Luck playing against Houston.
"I've got to just approach it like, 'Hey, be ready to go.' But again, this is his team and it's his offense. I'm the backup quarterback. That's what you do. You just get ready to play in case, and it's always in case."