Longtime Indianapolis Colt Jeff Saturday Announces Retirement

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Longtime Indianapolis Colt Jeff Saturday Announces Retirement
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Saturday scored an unlikely touchdown in the AFC Championship game.

Your average center is not a household name, nor is he immediately identifiable by the common fan.

Jeff Saturday has never been average.

The current Packer but longtime Colt announced that he's going to retire from football after the Pro Bowl, according to Michael Grady of Indianapolis' 1070 The Fan.

Saturday was well-known around league as a key figure in ending the 2011 lockout and being the face of the Indianapolis offensive line during the Peyton Manning era.

Saturday was a well-known local pitchman in Indianapolis.

One of the most beloved of the Manning-era Colts, Saturday anchored a line that was one of the league's best for years. Even as the overall talent level of the players around him started to drop in 2008, Saturday continued playing at a high level.

A perfect complement to Manning, Saturday was a cerebral player capable of making last-second protection adjustments to keep pace with Manning's ever-changing audibles.

He departed Indianapolis in the great purge of 2012, finishing his career in Green Bay. Despite obvious struggles all season—resulting in his benching after starting the first 14 games—Saturday was named to his sixth Pro Bowl.

While the odds are stacked against Saturday making the Hall of Fame, the two-time All-Pro will undoubtedly receive recognition by the team he played with for 13 years. He'll eventually take his place alongside former teammates in the Ring of Honor in Lucas Oil Stadium.

Beyond that, he could find a place in the Colts front office. Months ago, Saturday told told the NFL Network that he has an open invitation to return to the Colts in an executive capacity.

His return will be welcomed by Colts fans, who always found the undrafted castoff-turned-star easy to relate to. With his eloquent but plain-spoken manner, trademark beard and fine play, he won the hearts of Colts fans.

Saturday was slightly undersized for an interior lineman, but fit the Colts' preferred mold of being quick and smart. He was tough and fiercely protective of his quarterback, even if the two didn't always see eye to eye. He was one of the few players in the locker room with the cachet to stand up to Manning, and his leadership was recognized around the league.

His finest moment in blue and white came the night before the AFC Championship Game in 2007. Saturday challenged his teammates that it was their time to win. The next day, Tony Dungy echoed Saturday's words in the locker room at halftime with the Colts trailing 21-6.

Indianapolis rallied for a 38-34 victory over the New England Patriots. Saturday scored a touchdown and later threw a key block on the winning touchdown drive.

Saturday's legacy as a player didn't stop at the sideline or even the locker room. As an influential member of the NFLPA, Saturday helped establish trust and a solid relationship with Robert Kraft, which led to the current CBA

His character and play were on full display for 14 years in the NFL. The league is a lesser place without him playing in it and his contributions on and off the field won't soon be forgotten.

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