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T.Y. Hilton apologizes to Colts offensive line for ‘stabbing them in the back’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – On second thought, T.Y. Hilton admitted he was out of line.

Less than 24 hours after singling out the offensive line for its role in the Indianapolis Colts’ 27-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars – 10 sacks and an additional 10 hits against quarterback Jacoby Brissett – the team’s three-time Pro Bowl receiver went from critical to contrite.

“First and foremost I apologize to the team and the O-line,’’ Hilton said Monday afternoon as the media encircled his cubicle in the locker room. “Those (comments) were out of character . . . frustrated how the game went.

“At the end of the day, man, I’ve got their back. I love ‘em to death. I was wrong. I’m always against that, then I go out there and do it.’’

He was just getting started.

“Hundred percent I messed up. It’s on me and I’m sorry for that,’’ Hilton said. “I’m a leader and those guys look up to me and I kind of stabbed them in the back. For me, I’m sorry about that.’’

Chuck Pagano talked with Hilton about his post-game comments Monday morning although Hilton declined to share their conversation. At some point, Hilton will approach the offensive linemen – one by one – to offer an olive branch.

“Just let them know I was 100 percent, dead-ass wrong,’’ he said, adding he let the emotions and frustrations of the moment get the better of him.

Hilton’s frustrations centered on his own lack of production in the past two games. Against the Tennessee Titans and Jaguars, he’s had just three catches for 46 yards while being targeted 12 times.

After Sunday’s two-catch, eight-target outing, Hilton insisted the receivers were “winning our matchups. The O-line just got to play better . . . We’ve got to take some pride up front and block for (Brissett). What if we put (the linemen) back there and take those hits?

“We’ve got to start up front. Once we get the O-line going and back in rhythm, we will be fine.’’

Those words weren’t well received by at least one offensive lineman: left tackle Anthony Castonzo.

“We’re offensive linemen. We’re used to everything coming down on us all the time, so it’s nothing new,’’ he said. “Do we like the comments? No. But we recognize this is a time when we have to band together as a team and not separate.

“Anything that can splinter us off or finger-pointing needs to not happen.’’

The concern is that it could continue to happen unless leaders in the locker room put an end to it.

The loss to the Jaguars dropped the Colts to 2-5, and the next three games offer little relief: at Cincinnati Sunday, at Houston Nov. 5 and home against the Pittsburgh Steelers Nov. 12.

Veteran Frank Gore insisted “we have no choice’’ but to stay together.

“The only way to keep it together is to all be one,’’ he said. “It’s tough when you lose, especially like that.

“The only thing I can do is come in to work every day and work hard and try to show the young guys how to be a pro. That’s coming in here and try to do the right thing. When you’re a team, you stay together.’’

As for Hilton’s comments, Gore acknowledged they undoubtedly were words of frustration.

“I guess that’s what he assumed at the time,’’ he said. “He was frustrated. When you lose like that, you are going to be frustrated. T.Y. loves this game. He’s done a lot in this league. I respect him as a football player, as a man.

“He just was frustrated and when you’re frustrated, things don’t come out right.’’