Dwight Freeney admitted recently that he was upset that the Colts didn’t make an offer to keep him when he became a free agent this offseason because he wanted to retire as a member of the organization.
If he had remained in Indianapolis, Freeney would have continued his partnership with Robert Mathis. As defensive ends for many years and as linebackers in 2012, the two players provided the tip of the spear for the Colts’ pass rush and Freeney admitted it’s “uncomfortable” without Mathis being on the field with him.
Mathis has been dealing with some of the same feelings as he adapts to the new state of affairs on the Colts defense.
“It’s weird. It’s really, really weird,” Mathis said, via Michael Marot of the Associated Press. “It’s something you have to get used to because for a decade, we’ve been talking together at camp.”
Mathis had more success with the move to outside linebacker last season and enters this year as the veteran leader of a defense that has turned over dramatically in the last few years. If his production remains at the same level without Freeney on the other side, there’s a good chance that he’ll wind up as the franchise’s all-time sacks leader while joining wide receiver Reggie Wayne as a bridge from one successful Colts era to what they hope will be another one led by Andrew Luck.