MONDAY, 4:02pm: Confirming Sunday’s reports, Hasselbeck has tweeted a goodbye to the Colts organization: “Amazing experience w/ Colts. My family & I are grateful to you Indianapolis. Many great friends, you will be missed!”
SUNDAY, 1:35pm: Andrew Luck will have a new backup in 2016, as the Colts will not attempt to re-sign veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, report Mike Silver and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Instead, Indianapolis will turn to former Buccaneers starter Josh Freeman as its No. 2 signal-caller.
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Even during his age-40 season, Hasselbeck played pretty well in relief of the injured Luck — he started eight games and posted a 5-3 record, completed 61% of his passes for 1,690 yards, and threw nine touchdowns against five interceptions. Hasselbeck said earlier this month that he planned to return for an 18th NFL season, and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stated that the club “would love” to have him back. Evidently that thinking has changed, however, so if Hasselbeck wants to play one more year, it will be in a different uniform.
Freeeman, 28, signed with Indianapolis late in the 2015 season and ended up starting the club’s season finale (a win against the Titans). The former first-round pick brings 61 games worth of starting experience to the table — the majority of that time was with Tampa Bay, but Freeman also spent a brief one-game interlude with the Vikings in 2013.
The Colts also have fellow December signee Stephen Morris under contract for the 2016 season, so the team could choose to deploy him as their No. 3 quarterback. Meanwhile, veteran Charlie Whitehurst isn’t mentioned in the NFL.com report, but if Freeman is set to act as the backup, there’s little chance Whitehurst — an unrestricted free agent — will return to Indianpolis.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.