As news of Indianapolis Colts free-agent signings trickles out, fans might have noticed a few themes emerging. Some players said they wanted to play for a contender. Some specified that they were excited to play with Andrew Luck. Some had played with coach Chuck Pagano in the past and wanted to play with him again. And some, especially returning free agents, praised the locker room culture and said they wanted to remain a part of it.
Word on the street is that some of the guys signing with the Colts could have gotten more money elsewhere, but as anyone who has worked a paying job can tell you, money doesn’t always trump a positive work environment. Moreover, I like that the Colts are attracting players who are actively seeking things like a good locker room, a brotherhood and a chance to win. Twenty years ago, who would have thought Indianapolis would have become a desirable NFL free-agent destination? But listen to what recent signings are saying about the organization.
D’Qwell Jackson chose Indianapolis because of its stability, from the front office to the quarterback situation, and because he wanted a chance to win. Vontae Davis told Colts.com writer Craig Kelley that leaving Indianapolis would have been like leaving his family.
Arthur Jones and Hakeem Nicks both had experience playing for Pagano in the past (Jones with the Baltimore Ravens and Nicks when he was with the North Carolina Tar Heels).
Pat McAfee said that when his new deal with Indianapolis went through, he cried with relief because he didn’t want to play anywhere else; Adam Vinatieri expressed similar sentiments, telling Colts.com writer Craig Kelley that Indianapolis is “a very comfortable place to come to work and be productive.”
And what more could any of us ask from our employers? The Colts’ organization seems to be taking care of its people, recruiting chemistry as much as talent and finding players who want to be a part of this team and this community. Time will tell if this current iteration will accumulate any hardware, but I much prefer watching a team who genuinely enjoys playing together than a collection of mercenaries.