With training camps all around the league about to begin, two very prominent former Colts are still looking for work. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who the Colts moved on from this offseason, is still weighing his options and taking things slowly as he absolutely wants to play one more season. Pass rusher Dwight Freeney, who the Colts moved on from in 2013, also wants to play for one more season, but he's waiting for the right situation.
"It's up in the air," Freeney said on Tuesday night while appearing on SiriusXM NFL radio with Alex Marvez and Bill Polian. "I have aspirations to play, but the thing is I have to be in the right situation for me. I can't get put in a situation where, you know, I'm running away from the ball. I want to run towards the guy with the ball more than I'm running away. Hopefully I get put in a great situation there, and that's that."
Freeney will go down as one of the greatest Colts, as he was the best player on their defense for many years and provided tremendous pass rush consistently. In 11 seasons in Indianapolis, Freeney played in 163 games (starting 143) and racked up 107.5 sacks and 43 forced fumbles. He notched double-digit sacks in seven different seasons and led the NFL in sacks in 2004. After a rough 2012 season in which Freeney was forced to transition to a 3-4 outside linebacker, the Colts moved on from their all-time sack leader in free agency (Robert Mathis has since surpassed Freeney's franchise record). Freeney went on to play with the Chargers for two seasons, but he managed just four sacks in 20 games (13 starts), causing the Chargers to move on from him as well.
As a 35-year old entering his 14th season in the NFL, Freeney is no longer an every-down player or a mainstay of the pass rush, but when placed in the right situation he could really help a team. After his 2013 season was cut short due to injury after just 0.5 sacks, he bounced back in 2014 to play in every game and record 3.5 sacks, also recording the third-most hurries and the sixth-most overall pressures (sacks, hits, and hurries) of any 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL last year, according to Pro Football Focus. For a team needing some help at pass rush, adding Freeney would make sense. He can still contribute in a situational role, and while he won't be the Dwight Freeney that many came to know over the past decade, he should still be able to help out a team with some situational pass rush - whether he's playing in a 4-3 system as a defensive end or a 3-4 system as an outside linebacker. Freeney might have to wait a little bit before he finds that right situation, but once teams begin to see what they have on their roster and once injuries start to happen, I'd expect the demand for a veteran pass rusher like Freeney to get some serious looks.
Don't expect a reunion with the Colts, however. Freeney wasn't thrilled with their decision to move on from him in 2012 and the Colts don't really need to add the veteran pass rusher right now. They have Robert Mathis returning from injury, signed Trent Cole in free agency, and have intriguing second-year pro Jonathan Newsome returning. While an on-field reunion in Indianapolis is unlikely to happen this year, a reunion with the Colts will happen at some point soon enough when Freeney joins the team's ring of honor.