Freeney retires from NFL as member of Colts

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – One of the most prolific pass rushers in Colts history has officially retired as a member of the franchise.

Dwight Freeney announced his retirement after 16 seasons in the NFL Monday afternoon in a news conference at the team’s training complex.

“It’s been an amazing ride,” said Freeney. “Life-changing experiences that will last forever. I want to thank the fans who supported me over the years. This is not the end for me. This is the beginning. I’m excited to see what life has in store. I’ll always have love for this game of football. It’s done so much for me and my family that I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything.”

The Colts picked the defensive end out of Syracuse with their first round pick (11th overall) in the 2002 NFL draft. He played 11 seasons in Indianapolis, recording 307 tackles (48 for a loss) and 107.5 sacks. He’s second in team history in sacks behind teammate Robert Mathis (123).

His two favorite moments with the Colts are “blended together,” topping the Patriots in the 2006 AFC Championship Game and then going on to win Super Bowl XLI over the Bears for the franchise’s lone title in Indianapolis.

“When we beat the Patriots that was the mountain that we couldn’t climb,” Freeney said. “That was the biggest moment that I could remember. We knew when we got to the Super Bowl, we were going to win that. We got to beat the Patriots and if we do that, we’re coming home with a ring.”

“One of the greatest football players I have ever seen in my life,” said Colts owner Jim Irsay. “He’s going to go into the Hall of Fame even if we have to go there and break in and get his statue made.”

Freeney would go on to play with the Chargers, Cardinals, Falcons, Seahawks and Lions. He finished his career with 125.5 sacks, tied for 17th on the NFL’s career list with the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs.

Freeney made the Pro Bowl seven times and was First Team All-Pro three times.

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