With pass rushing great Robert Mathis set to be inducted into the franchise’s ‘Ring of Honor’ this upcoming season, it raises the question of which former Indianapolis Colts standout could be potentially next in-line behind him?
Robert Irsay, Bill Brooks, Ted Marchibroda, Chris Hinton, Jim Harbaugh, ‘Colts Nation’, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Jeff Saturday, Bill Polian, Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Dwight Freeney are among the current Colts franchise ‘Ring of Honor’ members—with Mathis’ induction imminent.
Here are the top potential candidates:
Dallas Clark, Tight End
Current Age: 41 years old
Acquired: 24th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft
Seasons with the Colts: Nine (2003-2011)
Games Played with Colts: 115 games (111 starts)
Colts Accolades: Super Bowl XLI Champion, 1x First-Team All-Pro, 1x Pro Bowler
Colts Career Statistics: 427 receptions for 4,887 receiving yards (11.4 ypr. avg.) and 46 touchdown receptions. His receptions rank 5th all-time in Colts’ franchise history, while his receiving yards rank 9th and touchdown receptions rank 6th respectively.
Overview: Clark is one of the greatest tight ends in Colts’ franchise history. He was one of the first prototypes for the modern day tight end—that is more wide receiver than blocker. Never wearing gloves, Clark was a sure-handed security blanket for legendary Colts quarterback Peyton Manning over the middle of the field—featuring size, speed, and athleticism as a mismatch in coverage for opposing linebackers/safeties.
Clark was an instrumental piece for consistently one of the league’s most prolific passing attacks and a key cog within the Colts’ 2006 Super Bowl Champion offense.
Tarik Glenn, Left Tackle
Current Age: 44 years old
Acquired: 19th overall pick of the 1997 NFL Draft
Seasons with the Colts: Ten (1997-2006)
Games Played with Colts: 154 games (154 starts)
Colts Accolades: Super Bowl XLI Champion, 3x Pro Bowler
Overview: In an era with star-studded left tackles including Orlando Pace, Walter Jones, Jonathan Ogden, Willie Roaf, and Tony Boselli, Glenn is often overlooked but was one of the game’s best blindside protecters for Manning. Built like a house with excellent feet, Glenn really was a ‘dancing bear’ at left tackle for the Colts—as an immovable sliding mountain.
Even if he was good for the occasional false start, he rarely—if ever let Manning get hit and was a downright road grader in the ground/screen game. Glenn was quietly elite.
He was an anchor along the Colts’ offensive line that won a Super Bowl in 2006 before he retired early at age 30—despite still playing left tackle at a very high level.
Andrew Luck, Quarterback
Current Age: 30 years old
Acquired: First overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft
Seasons with the Colts: Seven (2012-2018)
Games Played with Colts: 86 games (86 starts)
Colts Accolades: 4x Pro Bowler, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and NFL Passing Touchdowns Leader.
Colts Career Statistics: Luck completed 2,000 of 3,290 passing attempts (60.8%) for 23,671 passing yards, 171 touchdowns, and 83 interceptions. His completions, passing attempts, passing yards, and touchdowns rank 3rd all-time in Colts’ franchise history respectively.
Overview: After being selected with the 1st overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft—and filling #18’s enormous shoes, Luck lived up to the billing as the next superstar Colts’ franchise quarterback—when healthy. He had the arm, intelligence, and mobility as the complete package at quarterback for the Colts.
He took everything in stride with great leadership and poise.
Luck helped lead the Colts to an AFC Title Game in 2014—along with three other playoff seasons and always seemed on the cusp of being ‘the next great thing’ at quarterback—with dazzling plays and highlight reel throws.
Unfortunately, passing behind largely a poor Colts offensive line (until 2018) and with his own reckless playing style, Luck’s career was cut entirely too short because of injuries as he abruptly retired ahead of the 2019 season—citing lingering ailments and re-occurring/continuous physical rehabilitation (as his body was breaking down).
Luck’s tenure will always lead Colts’ fans to wonder ‘what could’ve been’, but there’s no doubt he put his body on the line countless times previously for the franchise playing through both pain and injuries (albeit some self-inflicted).
Bob Sanders, Safety
Current Age: 39 years old
Acquired: 44th overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft
Seasons with the Colts: Seven (2004-2010)
Games Played with Colts: 48 games (46 starts)
Colts Accolades: Super Bowl XLI Champion, NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 2x First-Team All-Pro, and 2x Pro Bowler.
Colts Career Statistics: 295 tackles (222 solo), 3.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, 16 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries (1 touchdown return).
Overview: Due to injuries, Sanders’ career candle didn’t burn very long, but boy, did it ever burn bright as the Colts’ only NFL Defensive Player of the Year in franchise history. Sanders had speed, ballhawking instincts, and would fly around the field like a heat-seeking missile—delivering TKO hits in the process.
When ‘the Hitman’ hit a player hard—which was almost always, that player went immediately down to the turf.
Sanders was the catalyst for the Colts’ 2006 Super Bowl Champion defense, as he was a difference-maker in the back of their secondary and gave that unit much needed attitude, swagger, and physicality—in addition to being an overall dynamic playmaker at safety.
Adam Vinatieri, Kicker
Current Age: 47 years old
Acquired: Signed by the Colts as a free agent in March of 2006
Seasons with the Colts: Fourteen (2006-2019)
Games Played with Colts: 205 games
Colts Accolades: Super Bowl XLI Champion, 1x First-Team All-Pro, 1x Pro Bowler, Most Consecutive Field Goals Made (44), Most Colts Career Points (1,515), Most Colts Field Goals Made (336), Most NFL Career Points (2,673 points), Most Career NFL Field Goals Made (599) [*the last two record-breakers were accomplished in a Colts jersey].
Colts Career Statistics: 336 of 394 field goal attempts (85.3%) and 507 of 524 extra point attempts (96.8%).
Overview: Coming off his Super Bowl runs with the New England Patriots, Vinatieri was already considered the NFL’s most clutch kicker of all-time—as well as one of the game’s best kickers before joining Indianapolis.
However, it was with the Colts where Vinatieri continued to kick at a high level—showing excellent consistency, clutchness, and longevity—and further cementing himself as the undisputed greatest kicker of all-time as the NFL’s all-time scoring leader.
During the Colts’ own 2006 Super Bowl run, Vinatieri went 5 for 5 on field goals in the Divisional Round kicking in tough weather conditions against the Baltimore Ravens—as he scored Indianapolis’ only points (which were incredibly hard to come by).
Even if he was no longer elite, he remained one of the game’s better and more reliable kickers even into his 40’s—aging like a fine wine.
It was his veteran leadership in the locker room that really helped make Vinatieri such an invaluable presence for the Colts franchise for over a decade though—in what’s been nothing short of a First-Ballot Hall of Fame career.