Jeff Saturday back in Indianapolis, ready to retire with Colts

Saturday reflects on storied career in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS - Former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday is back in Indy and is ready to sign a one-day contract soon so he can officially retire with the Colts.

Speaking with RTV6's Dave Furst on "Sunday Sports Xtra," Saturday said he doesn't quite feel like he has stepped away from the game yet, just weeks after the Pro Bowl.

"This would be my normal downtime, so I really haven't seen guys start working out," Saturday said. "Nothing's happening, except people are getting fired. That's the only thing you miss at this time."

Saturday spent 13 seasons in Indianapolis, earning a Super Bowl ring and making the Pro Bowl while with the Colts five times, earning a sixth Pro Bowl appearance in his final season with Green Bay.

Saturday's journey to Indianapolis with the Packers on Oct. 7 was packed with emotion. It was the same week that Colts coach Chuck Pagano's battle with leukemia was made public, and Colts fans were eager to greet Saturday as someone who meant so much to the team for so many years.

"When we got here, I was texting Reggie (Wayne) and some of those guys the night before the game," Saturday said. "Staying at a different hotel and looking over Lucas (Oil Stadium), the whole deal was just surreal."

A montage of Saturday's accomplishments with the Colts was shown on the big screen in the waning moments of the game, something he will never forget.

"I had to turn away, because I was getting choked up. The Colts were going for the winning drive. It was like 2 minutes left in the game," Saturday said. "(Andrew) Luck and I were laughing about it. He said, 'We're trying to score. They're bringing tears to the eyes of some of my guys in the huddle. What's going on?'"

Saturday said he appreciated the outpouring of support.

"When the game was over, there was a group of fans who waited … and I remember running out and I'm welling up, because people are on their feet and just going nuts as I ran in," Saturday said. "(Packers coach Mike) McCarthy pulled me aside and said, 'You'll never forget it.'"

Quarterback Andrew Luck has ushered in a new era in Indianapolis, passing the mantle from Peyton Manning. Saturday said he thinks the Colts are equipped to make more championship runs.

"He makes plays. He's aggressive when he needs to be aggressive. He's going to be a great leader for this team," Saturday said. "He's a classy guy. He really cares about his team. He cares about his job."

Saturday reflects on Manning, his role in Indy's success

Even though they were on opposing teams at the Pro Bowl, Saturday and Manning got together for one final snap, a memorable close to a storied career for Saturday.

"That (idea) started by the pool in Hawaii, quite possibly with a cocktail," Saturday admitted. "We were sitting around and just talking, and he said, 'We should do it.'"

Manning set up the opportunity, letting the TV crews and others know what was about to happen.

"It meant a lot to me. We spent a lot of time together," Saturday said. "We had the chance to ride the coattails of probably the greatest quarterback ever to play the game."

Manning grew to rely on Saturday in more ways than one.

"I think I brought a sense of comfort that it was part of the game that he didn't have to constantly stress about," Saturday said, adding that he would sometimes rein other players and, sometimes, Manning in.

"He would listen. He wanted guys who were as sold out as he was for this team," Saturday said. "He wasn't going to hear a guy who wasn't working the way he was working."

Saturday and Colts owner Jim Irsay have been working for quite some time on the plan to bring Saturday back to Indianapolis for a day so that he can retire with the Colts.

"Irsay was always completely on board with that and had contacted me to do that," Saturday said. "There's stuff that happens with the league first that has to all take place. It just takes time to get things done."

The deal could be done within the next month, giving Saturday the closure he wanted on his career.


Follow Dave Furst on Twitter: @davefurst

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