INDIANAPOLIS – Last season they were two of the few holdovers from the old Colts regime. Now as a new one begins to blossom, they will be on the outside looking in.
This afternoon Fox 59 confirmed that linebacker Dwight Freeney and receiver Austin Collie will not have their contracts renewed and will not return to the team.
The news was first reported by Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star and confirmed by the Colts on their website at 5 P.M.
“Few people have meant as much to the success of the Indianapolis Colts as Dwight Freeney,” said Owner and CEO Jim Irsay in a statement posted to Colts.com. “He has been a dominant player, which is all the more impressive considering his size for his position, and he has won a lot of games for this franchise. Dwight was an artist, a joy to watch, and the dedication he put toward his craft was a rare quality.
“We will miss him, but look forward to his future induction into the Hall of Fame and Colts Ring of Honor.”
Freeney is the team’s all-time leader in sacks with 107.5 and was selected to seven Pro Bowls. He was the Colts’ 11th overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft and was the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.
During his tenure Freeney was considered one of the best pass rushers in NFL and was rewarded with a six-year, 72 million dollar contract which expired at the end of the 2012 season. In his last year with the Colts he primarily played outside linebacker collecting 12 tackles along with five sacks in 14 games.
Collie burst onto the scene as a rookie on the Colts 2009 AFC Championship team making 60 catches for 676 yards and seven touchdowns. He made 58 catches the next season but suffered a pair of concussions at Philadelphia and at home against the Jaguars that limited him to nine games and put his career in question.
The next season Collie avoided injury playing in 16 games but during the pre-season Steelers he suffered another concussion which kept him out the first two games of the season. In his first game at home against the Jaguars back he suffered a season-ending knee injury in what would turn out to be his last game with the Colts.
On his Twitter account this afternoon, Collie said:” Sad day for me and my fam. It was a g8 4 yrs. Can’t thnk u all enough 4 ur hospitality and support. Blessed to have been a part of this org.”