During a radio interview in Seattle earlier this month, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said he was “strongly leaning toward” playing another season in 2016.
In an interview with the team’s website, he went a bit further by saying that he knows he wants to play and that he’s willing to work as hard as he needs to work to remain an NFL quarterback. Hasselbeck is set to become a free agent and it sounds like the Colts will offer him a roster spot after Hasselbeck started eight games for the team last season.
“Chuck Pagano and I had a great conversation. He called me and said, ‘What’s your plan?’” Hasselbeck said. ” He’s another guy I’d put in the category of people I rely on. I said, ‘Chuck, be brutally honest: What do you think? Do you think I should continue playing?’ He said, ‘Look, we love you. We’d love to have you back.’ I respect his opinion because I know he’d give me an honest opinion. Sometimes that can be tough to hear from a coach, but I’ve played long enough to get constructive criticism and learn to accept it.”
As Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star points out, Hasselbeck played well when he was healthy last season. As the year went on, however, Hasselbeck’s aches and pains mounted to the point that he couldn’t make it through games without taking plays off to recover from big hits. His play suffered as a result and the Colts had to turn to Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley to close out the season.
That experience makes another season that sees Hasselbeck start half the team’s games seem like a bad thing, although that would be true of any quarterback not named Andrew Luck and other options don’t have the same experience with and without the Colts that Hasselbeck brings to the table.