INDIANAPOLIS – Last week at the Combine, Matt Hasselbeck was signing autographs for fans fortunate enough to meet the 39-year old NFL quarterback.
Fans knew the longevity that Hasselbeck had carved out in the NFL since being chosen in the 1998 Draft.
They wanted to know what Hasselbeck's Combine experience was like back in 1998.
For Hasselbeck, there was no Combine.
'Well, this is the first time I've been to the Combine," Hasselbeck told the bewildered fans. "It took me 17 years."
When Ryan Leaf entered the draft as an underclassman, Hasselbeck's spot was gone.
His NFL career was not.
That career just got one year longer.
Hasselbeck inked a one-year deal with the Colts on Friday morning and will play in the NFL when he turns 40 this September.
"For sure this was a great fit for me. I had to see if this was a great fit for them. That's the part you just never know as a player," Hasselbeck said on Friday.
"I understand too that they have to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and sometimes they have to say goodbye to guys that are good players. I'm psyched that it worked out here."
Hasselbeck, who has played in 201 NFL games, learned of him spending another season with the Colts as he was en route to a concert with his daughters and tight end Coby Fleener on Thursday.
Entering the offseason as a free agent can provide loads of stress, but Hasselbeck knew what he wanted.
He showed last season that the game to be a starting quarterback in the NFL is still prevalent.
The thought of being a starting quarterback again crept into his head briefly, much more than retirement, before he realized what he truly was striving for at the end of his career.
"I think the most important thing is being in a great organization with great coaching that is trying to win a Super Bowl right away, that actually can," Hasselbeck said.
"And that's this team."