The Indianapolis Colts have informed Dwight Freeney, the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks, they will not re-sign him. “I was very surprised to hear they wanted to go in a different direction,” Freeney said in a text message to ESPN’s Ed Werder. “It would have been nice to retire a Colt … My plan is to hit the free-agent market and see who has interest.”
Freeney, who turns 33 on Tuesday and was set to become an unrestricted free agent, has seen his sack totals decline in each of the past three seasons. The seven-time Pro Bowler had just five sacks last season, his lowest total since 2007. Freeney was a cornerstone of the Colts’ defense and became one of the most popular players in club history after being selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2002 draft.
“Few people have meant as much to the success of the Indianapolis Colts as Dwight Freeney,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said. “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.” Despite starting only the final eight games as a rookie, Freeney still broke the Colts’ single-season franchise record with 13 sacks, was named the AFC’s defensive rookie of the month in November and December that season and finished second to Julius Peppers in balloting for defensive rookie of the year.
according to espn.com/colts.com