Former center Jeff Saturday resigns with Colts to retire with team

Ceremony set for noon Thursday

INDIANAPOLIS - Former Colts center Jeff Saturday retired with the Colts at an emotional ceremony Thursday.

Peyton Manning's longtime center, who played for the Green Bay Packers at the end of his career, was back in Indianapolis to sign a one-day contract and mark his official retirement with the team.

IMAGES: Jeff Saturday's career in pictures

"Back in blue. That's a good thing to say," Saturday told reporters. "I'm truly grateful and humbled by this opportunity. I'm excited to retire as a Colt. This is my home."

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.

Colts owner Jim Irsay said Saturday will remain with the team after his retirement, working in media relations and possibly as a coach in the future.

"When I think about Jeff Saturday, I think about one of the greatest players in the NFL," Irsay said. "He's truly a leader of our team."

Saturday praised Irsay's leadership and recounted stories of growing up within the organization.

"Irsay has always put his players first. I'm a Colt, and I love representing the team," he said. "They made this job a family for me."

Several former players and coaches were at the ceremony, and Saturday thanked them, along with former partner Manning, for their guidance.

"I couldn't have asked for a better team of coaches. I can't thank those guys enough. They were mentors to me," he said. "Peyton is one of the most giving guys. My experience in Green Bay gave me more insight into how great a player Peyton Manning is."

Saturday's voice broke as he talked about his wife, Karen, and the couple's three children, who sat behind their father on the stage.

"My kids help me keep perspective. They keep it real with their dad," he said. "My wife, Karen, is the most selfless person. All the things she does for our family. She made my life what it is."

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