INDIANAPOLIS – The numbers alongside Dwight Freeney’s name are a testament to the footprints he left during a 17-year career in the NFL.

That usually involved him spinning past or bull-rushing a left tackle and harassing/sacking a quarterback, which translated into individual and team success.

The 125.5 sacks, which rank 26th in NFL history.

The 47 forced fumbles, which are tied for 3rd-most.

The seven seasons with at least 10 sacks, including a league-best 16 in 2004.

The seven Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pros.

The three Super Bowl appearances, including two with the Indianapolis Colts, highlighted by a world championship with Indy after the 2006 season.

That extended excellence has Freeney among the 15 Modern-era Finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. He advanced to the Final 15 from a Semifinal list of 28 in his first year of eligibility.

“To even be considered or mentioned in these types of things, you know, is a blessing,’’ Freeney said. “It means the world to me and my family and everyone who helped me on this journey.’’

He spent the first 13 years of his career with the Colts, who selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 2002 draft. Freeney automatically became a defensive cornerstone and weekly disruptor for a franchise that enjoyed record-setting success in the 2000s and claimed its first world title in three decades with a 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

There was Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James, former teammates who already have been enshrined in Canton, Ohio. There was Reggie Wayne, who joined Freeney as a finalist for the Class of 2023. There were so many other elite players, including defensive end Robert Mathis, Freeney’s quarterback-chasing sidekick who reached the Semifinals but fell short of the Final 15.

“You don’t do this alone,’’ Freeney insisted.

The list of contributors to the Hall of Fame-worthy career is long: Jack Cochran, Freeney’s coach at Bloomfield (Conn.) High School; Paul Pasqualoni, his head coach at Syracuse; Deek Pollard and Jerry Azzinaro, his defensive line coaches at Syracuse; John Teerlinck, his d-line coach with the Colts; Tony Dungy, his first head coach in Indy; Chad Bratzke, the Colts’ veteran pass rusher who showed him the ropes.

“When you can make any type of list or anything of this magnitude, I honestly don’t believe you get there by yourself,’’ Freeney said. “Everyone was a part of that. And everybody celebrates, in a sense, because I wouldn’t have made it to this point or this level without everybody being a part of that quote-unquote team.’’

Freeney realizes he isn’t in control of the Hall of Fame process, but hopes his career was enough.

“Whatever happens, happens,’’ he said. “I’ve done all I can do.’’

The 49-member Selection Committee – I am one of the selectors – will meet in a few weeks to determine the Class of 2023; a maximum of five Modern-era candidates will be chosen. The Class of 2023 will be announced Feb. 9 at the NFL Honors show as a lead up to Super Bowl LVII, which is Feb. 12 in Glendale, Ariz.

About that signature move

Think about Dwight Freeney and you automatically think of his spin move.

It originated while Freeney was in high school and addicted to And1 Mixtapes. Yes, hoops would be instrumental in his pro football career.

“It was street basketball and guys were trying to make the defender look absolutely silly,’’ he said. “Guys would be traveling and basically putting on Harlem Globetrotters moves on guys. I was on the practice field one day and I wanted to figure out a way to kind of bring that to the football game.

“For me, I wanted to make that offensive tackle look as silly as possible. I was thinking, ‘How can I make this guy completely miss?’

“And it was spinning. And it was natural for me to do.’’

Freeney spun his way through Bloomfield and Syracuse before settling with the Colts. There, he found someone in Teerlinck who didn’t try to alter the unique style.

“John Teerlinck’s whole thing was, ‘I don’t care if you back-flip or somersault. You can do anything as long as you get to the quarterback. You start at Point A and get to Point B. I don’t care how you do it as long as you do it,’’’ Freeney said with a laugh.

Freeney continued to sharpen his signature move in practice and the offseason.

“I would put one dummy bag here, three other dummy bags there,’’ he said. “I would spin three times, spin four times. I wanted to make sure that sword was as sharp as possible.

“When it came to games, it would be like me trying to tie my shoes laces. It was automatic.’’

He also credited Harrison with helping him perfect it.

During practice, Freeney noticed how Harrison, a member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, made every route appear the same. That complicated things for defensive backs.

“Watching him every day in practice helped make me a better pass rusher,’’ Freeney said. “I wanted things to look the same. I wanted my speed rush to look like my bull rush, until it was too late; to look like my spin rush, until it was too late; to just running around the end, until it was too late.’’

Despite his sacks and forced fumbles and tackles for loss, Freeney is most proud of having done things “the right way.’’

“I left everything I had out there on that field,’’ he said. “There was no game that I left that I can remember where I said, ‘You know what? You just didn’t try hard enough. You didn’t give it your all.’

“I may not have had two or three or four sacks in a game, but I’ll tell you right now, I left everything out there. I played full speed. You would never see me loafing, saving my energy for another play.

“I gave it my all. If it looked like I wasn’t giving it my all, it was because I was dead-ass tired. I just respected the game that way. The game has given me everything and that was my way of giving back.’’

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You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.