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Indianapolis Colts

Dwight Freeney, Jeff Saturday, Reggie Wayne Reflect On What Made Tarik Glenn Great: 'This Guy Was An Absolute Anchor'

Glenn, the stalwart left tackle who protected Peyton Manning's blind side for a decade, will be enshrined in the Colts Ring of Honor at halftime of Sunday's game against the Washington Commanders. 

Tarik Glenn For 10.30 Scout

Shortly after Dwight Freeney arrived in Indianapolis, the 2002 first-round pick tried a pass rushing move he used to sack plenty of quarterbacks in college.

The defensive end threatened the left tackle in front of him with speed, then tried to use the tackle's momentum against him by pushing him with his left arm, creating an inside path to the quarterback.

Only this left tackle was Tarik Glenn. Welcome to the pros, rookie.

"I tried that move on Tarik one time," Freeney said. "It was the last time I ever used the move in the NFL. I feel like I almost broke my left arm and my left shoulder trying to push Tarik Glenn up the field. There was no way I was moving that boulder, man."

Freeney wasn't alone. For a decade, Glenn stonewalled opposing pass rushers, keeping Peyton Manning's blind side clean as the Colts' offense lit up scoreboards across the league.

"He locked down that left side week in, week out," wide receiver Reggie Wayne said.

"This guy was an absolute anchor," center Jeff Saturday added.

On Sunday, Glenn will take his place next to Freeney, Saturday, Wayne and other greats from the most successful era in franchise history in the Colts Ring of Honor. Glenn's name will be perched high atop Lucas Oil Stadium, permanently etched in franchise lore.

"Man," Wayne said, "that's where he's supposed to be."

Glenn was a transformative draft pick, with the 6-foot-5, 332-pound Cal tackle sandwiched as a first-round selection between Marvin Harrison in 1996 and Manning in 1998. And the combination of an elite left tackle and elite wide receiver gave Manning two of the most important things a young quarterback could have.

But Glenn not only kept Manning upright – he helped set the standard for a Colts team that won 10 or more games in seven of his 10 seasons.

"People see practice habits," Saturday said. "So when they see practice is a battle — we don't just show up and get ready for games. When we practice, we practice to win, we practice to be excellent. And he brought that out each and every day on the practice field."

Facing Glenn every day in practice helped develop Freeney into one of the NFL's most feared pass rushers – a guy who's also in the Colts Ring of Honor, and someday should earn himself a gold jacket and bust in Canton.

"I rarely ever saw him just get beat at that left tackle position like I saw other left tackles struggle," Freeney said. "It was a tremendous advantage for me individually because I used to go against him every single day. I attribute any of my success to those early years going against Tarik Glenn every day in practice. It was iron sharpening iron.

"… If I knew I could beat Tarik on a pass rush move, then I knew I could beat anybody. That's how good he was."

The Colts never had to slide protection to help out Glenn, and rarely gameplanned to have a running back or tight end provide chip help for their left tackle. They didn't need to. They knew whoever was lined up against Glenn was going to be handled by their mammoth, agile left tackle.

"We never had a game where it was like, Tarik's not going to be able to block this guy, we gotta put a tight end beside him or slide to help him," Saturday said. "It was, hey bro, tackles block ends, go block your guy. I don't care who it is. I don't care if it's a Hall of Famers you got to block or some guy nobody knows their name yet, Tarik was going to do it, man, with no questions asked.

"I think how fortunate we were that we never had to change who we were as an offense or what our expectations were, it was — he's gonna block down that edge and we're gonna feel good about it for 60 minutes without any real concern. It was unreal."

Wayne would always line up on the left side of the Colts' offensive formation, and when he would peek inside before the snap, seeing No. 78 gave him calming, we-got-this sense.

"We were left side strong side, that was our thing," Wayne said. "So it's like every time I would line up and I would look inside and see Tarik, I knew that left side was gonna be good because I know he put in the hard work. He was smart, he was savvy, he knew how to finesse when he needed to. But you knew it was going to be taken care of."

"Just leave him on the island," Freeney said, "and we knew Tarik was going to take care of business."

But as good as Glenn was on the field, he matched it with the impact he made off the field. Teammates gravitated toward him, and he became a leader in the community, setting an example for other Colts players to follow.

"He's one of those guys, he's a magnet," Saturday said. "People want to be around him. And was a massive human being who looked intimidating on the outside, but he was a gentle giant that people loved to be around and one of the kindest, most generous souls of people I've ever been around."

"He's a big teddy bear," Wayne said. "As big as he is, he's a big teddy bear."

Glenn inspired Wayne to get more involved in community efforts, and after Glenn retired in 2006, Wayne took over the Indiana Wish Foundation from him.

"That's the type of dude he was," Wayne said. "I watched him and kind of sat back and just watched him lead."

Think about all the legendary names Glenn is up there with at Lucas Oil Stadium – Manning, Harrison, Wayne, Saturday, Freeney, Mathis, James, Polian, Dungy. Ask any of those guys, and they'll tell you: That era of Colts football doesn't happen without Glenn.

"He was one of the pillars," Wayne said. "You could tell that he was the example of the Colts organization — he was what everyone was trying to be as far as a leader, a professional. He was one of the dudes that started this foundation."

"We never had to worry about the left tackle position," Freeney said. "That's a blessing. You don't realize until you don't got one how important that position is."

"When you're talking about the left tackle, it speaks volumes about who he is and how well deserved this honor is," Saturday said. "For a guy who was as impactful as he was for a team that won a Super Bowl, went to AFC Championship games and set a standard that everybody continues to strive for, his name needs to be up there and I'm proud to be up there with him."

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