Colts Re-Sign Defensive Captain Gary Brackett
INDIANAPOLIS – Gary Brackett didn't want it any other way.
He joined the NFL as an undrafted rookie with the Colts, emerged as one of the most underrated players in the same place, and more recently, it has been with the Colts that he developed into one of the NFL's top middle linebackers.
He's a leader, a captain and liked where he is.
So, as the NFL's free-agency period approached, and as Brackett negotiated with the Colts front office this past week, he very much wanted to stay in Indianapolis.
Early Friday, he got his wish.
Brackett, an eight-year veteran and the Colts' team captain since 2006, re-signed with the Colts, the club announced Friday. Terms and duration were not disclosed.
"I wanted to stay here," Brackett said early Friday afternoon at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. "I really feel like we have some unfinished business. We went to the Super Bowl this year, and kind of didn't get the job done. I feel like we were right there, and very competitive.
"Next year, I think it's the same thing over again."
Chris Polian, the Colts' Vice President and General Manager, said from the start of the offseason, getting Brackett re-signed was "the No. 1 priority."
"We've been fortunate enough to do so," Polian said. "We'd like to thank Mr. (Colts Owner and Chief Executive Officer Jim) Irsay, and his continued commitment to put a competitive and winning team on the field, which is again illustrated by Gary's presence and ability to stay with us moving forward.
"We'd also link to thank and congratulate Gary. Throughout the whole process, it was very clear to us in our conversations with Gary and his representatives that Gary's true intent and real hope was to stay as a Colt.
"Both parties were able to work toward that end and get that deal done."
Brackett, who signed with the Colts as a free agent rookie from Rutgers shortly after the 2003 NFL Draft, played extensively as a backup for two seasons, then moved into the starting lineup in 2005. He has developed into one of the team's most-reliable, popular players.
Brackett, who has started 73 of 103 career games, has 674 career tackles, with 11 interceptions, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He had 115 tackles in 2009, which was second on the team.
"I knew it was almost certainly going to take up to March 5, just so we could negotiate and get to a win-win situation," Brackett said. "I think we got that accomplished. Mr. Irsay and Chris, as well as (Colts President) Bill (Polian), have been doing a great job, working around the clock and putting the numbers together and making sure they work. I'm happy."
Brackett said he spoke Friday morning with Cato June and David Thornton, each of whom began their careers as linebackers with the Colts before signing elsewhere as free agents.
"They congratulated me," Brackett said. "I'm honored to be one of those lucky guys to be able to stay and finish my career here with the Colts. It's just a testament to how they view me as a player, not only on the field, but what I bring to the team in the locker room sense.
"This is a great place to play. If you have a chance to stay a Colt for life, you usually jump at it. That's why I wanted to do everything within my power and reason to make this my home."
Brackett, who has been involved extensively in the community since joining the Colts, said staying with the team was imant for more than just on-field reasons,
"That means a lot to me, to not only be successful on the field, but off the field," Brackett said. "We have high-character guys really stemming from our organization, from our owner, Jim Irsay, all the way down. Guys really take that personally as far as what we mean and what impact we have in our community. It means a lot to me to be a part of something that I think is going to be long-lasting. When my career is done, I still want to have an impact on this community."
And while Brackett said negotiations lasted late into Thursday night, "I knew deep down where I wanted to be."
"I knew we were close to getting something done," he said. "It took a little bit after that to secure a deal, but we got something done. We're happy and we got it taken care of. . . .
"It's been a long road. I've definitely been through a lot, not only on the field, but off the field. Having the opportunity to reach the pinnacle of your career – to be in your prime, to be rewarded for all the hard work you endured – I guess when I retire I can look back and say, 'I guess I accomplished a lot in my career.'
Also on Friday, the Colts announced the free agent or waiver additions of 11 players:
T-Gerald Cadogan, DE-John Chick, WR-Dudley Guice, DT-Mitch King, DB-Terrail Lambert, WR-John Matthews, RB-Devin Moore, LB-Brandon Renkart, WR-Taj Smith, OG-Jaimie Thomas and QB-Drew Willy.