Pro Football Spot's "Colts Countdown to Kickoff" series continues with perennial Pro Bowl center, Jeff Saturday at No. 63.
In 1999, the Indianapolis Colts were struggling to find consistency on the offensive line. After failing to sign a quality lineman in the 1998 draft, Nate Hobgood-Chittick, former defensive tackle for the Colts, encouraged then-general manager Bill Polian to take a chance on an electrical supply salesman in Raleigh who showed some prowess at North Carolina.
That electrical supply salesman was the answer to years of searching.
Jeff Saturday’s performance as an Indianapolis Colt will forever be engrained in the heads of Colts fans. Before the draft, Saturday was considered too small to play at the NFL level and was overlooked, but was noted for a motor that wouldn’t slow down. The negative premonitions were squashed as soon as Saturday started to dominate the interior of opposing defensive lines.
Saturday would pair up with Peyton Manning to make a quarterback/center duo that spent a lot of time together. While Manning would always shore up his receivers and running backs, Saturday could often be seen calling protection schemes, working together to create one of the most efficient offenses of the 2000s era.
He would start 202 of his 211 games in his career, providing a dominant force inside. Saturday really loved the run-blocking, being able to push guys around. Saturday is often credited for the game-winning touchdown run by Joseph Addai against the Patriots in the 2007 AFC Championship, self-dubbing the play, “The Block,” after a vicious pancake of New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
Saturday’s NFL career unfortunately did not remain entirely in Indianapolis, signing a one-year deal with the Green Bay Packers in 2012. He earned a nod to the Pro Bowl in his final season after an up-and-down year. Saturday made the announcement that he intended to retire after the 2013 Pro Bowl, in which he took his final career snap from former teammate and friend, Peyton Manning (despite being from two different conferences).
He would finish off his outstanding career with a ceremonial 1-day contract with the Indianapolis Colts to officially retire a Colt in March of 2013.
Almost a surefire Hall-of-Fame candidate, Saturday won over the hearts of Colts fans with the constant fire in his belly and his consistency snapping the ball each Sunday.