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Three Colts greats named among Pro Football HoF Class of 2024’s 25 modern-era semifinalists

Three legendary Colts from one of the most successful eras of the franchise’s football have been named as semifinalists for potential football immortality in 2024.

NFL: NOV 28 Buccaneers at Colts Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 25 modern-era players who have been named as semifinalists for the upcoming Class of 2024.

Among those highly accomplished semifinalists, there were three longtime Indianapolis Colts: Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, and Reggie Wayne.

Each has been named a semifinalist as follows in prior years: Freeney (2), Mathis (3), and Wayne (5).

The 25 modern-era semifinalists will be further trimmed down to 15 finalists, and the Hall of Fame selection committee will select the Class of 2024 (between four and nine players) ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII in Las Vegas with the results being announced live on NFL Honors Night (February 8th, 2024).

Here’s a bit of a brief breakdown on these legendary Colts greats:

Indianapolis Colts Dwight Freeney... SetNumber: X69800 TK1

Dwight Freeney

Biography: Originally selected by the Colts in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft, the ‘undersized’ 6’1,” 268 pound sackmaster was part wrecking ball meets Tasmanian Devil—featuring a patented spin move that would simply demoralize even the league’s best left tackles. Freeney wasn’t all speed off the edge though, as he had a surprising bull rush and was difficult to block with his lower center of gravity and unique playing strength. He was one of the most dominant pass rushers of his era as a certified game wrecker off the edge.

Accolades: Super Bowl XLI Champion, 3x NFL First-Team All-Pro, 1x NFL 2nd Team All-Pro, 7x Pro Bowler, NFL Sacks Leader, NFL Forced Fumbles, Co-Leader, NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and Colts Ring of Honor.

Playing Career: Indianapolis Colts (2002-12), San Diego Chargers (2013-14), Arizona Cardinals (2015), Atlanta Falcons (2016), Seattle Seahawks (2017), and Detroit Lions (2017).

Career Stats: 350 tackles (299 solo), 128 tackles for loss, 125.5 sacks, and 47 forced fumbles during 218 career games (157 starts).

Indianapolis Colts v Cleveland Browns Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images

Robert Mathis

Biography: Along with Freeney, Mathis formed one of the fiercest and most prolific pass rushing pairings in league history. However, make no mistake about it, Mathis was a genuinely great player in his own right. As a 2003 5th round pick, Mathis worked his way from special teams to situational pass rusher to NFL All-Pro. He featured speed, agility, athleticism, and as the league’s career leader in forced fumbles (52), the unique ability to consistently strip-sack opposing quarterbacks and oftentimes, during pivotal moments late in a game. Mathis was lauded for his locker room leadership, and in addition to Reggie Wayne (*below), helped bridge the gap between the Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck eras of Colts football. Not to mention, successfully made the transition from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker off the edge.

Accolades: Super Bowl XLI Champion, 2x NFL First-Team All-Pro, 5x Pro Bowler, Deacon Jones Award recipient, 3x NFL Forced Fumbles Leader, and Colts Ring of Honor.

Playing Career: Indianapolis Colts (2003-16)

Stats: 538 tackles (408 solo), 108 tackles for loss, 123.0 sacks, 54 forced fumbles, and 1 interception during 192 career games (121 starts).

Indianapolis Colts Reggie Wayne, 2005 AFC Wild Card Playoffs SetNumber: X72596

Reggie Wayne

Biography: Perhaps the ‘Robin’ to Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison’s ‘Batman’ to begin his illustrious Colts career (as a former Indy 2001 first round pick), the pair formed one of the most highly productive wide receiver duos in all-time NFL history—with the unworldly Peyton Manning throwing them tight spirals. Wayne also eventually showed that even without #88, #87 was a bonafide #1 wideout (and a ‘Bruce’ Wayne) by his own merits. While he was never the most dominating athlete physically, Wayne was as sure-handed and pristine of a route runner as you’ll ever see in today’s game (and had deceptive speed)—with a knack for making critical catches during the game’s biggest moments. You may as well have called Wayne ‘Mr. Third Down’ with his propensity to make key catches to consistently move the sticks and sustain long scoring drives for one of the league’s best offenses during the golden ‘Manning Era’ of Colts football. Wayne was highly regarded as a locker room leader (and a beloved fan favorite) for the Colts and as mentioned, was instrumental in bridging two eras of iconic Indy quarterbacks. He also wasn’t done with the Colts after his playing career ended, as he is now the wide receivers coach for the team.

Accolades: Super Bowl XLI Champion, First-Team NFL All-Pro, 2x NFL 2nd-Team All-Pro, 6x Pro Bowler, NFL Receiving Yards Leader, Colts All-Time Leader in Games Played, and Colts Ring of Honor.

Playing Career: Indianapolis Colts (2001-14)

Stats: 1,070 receptions for 14,345 receiving yards and 82 touchdown receptions during 211 career games (197 career starts).