INDIANAPOLIS — Pass-rush specialist Dwight Freeney is ending his NFL career in the place he started it.
Freeney, who brought havoc on quarterbacks for most of his 16-year playing career, will sign a contract with the Indianapolis Colts and then immediately retire.
The team will hold a news conference on Monday at 3 p.m. Eastern.
“He was a great player in every phase of the game,” said former Colts general manager Bill Polian, who drafted Freeney. “He was known as a great sacker, but he could play the pass and the run as well. Terrific run player. He gave you everything you had every week. And what made him even more special is that he did it while knowing teams were aiming to try to slow him down every week.”
Freeney immediately made his presence felt after the Colts picked him 11th overall in the 2002 draft. His 13 sacks as a rookie were the start of a string of four straight seasons in which he had at least 11 sacks. Freeney teamed up with Robert Mathis (123 career sacks) in 2003 to form one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL. Freeney had 107.5 sacks during his 11 seasons in Indianapolis.
“He and Robert were such great forces with that incredible pass rush,” Polian said. “You’re talking about two guys who had over 100 sacks in their career. That’s rare company. They both had an incredible gift.”
Freeney left the Colts after the 2012 season and had stops with the Chargers, Cardinals, Falcons, Lions and Seahawks.
His combination of using his speed and a spin move led to being selected to the Pro Bowl seven times and resulted in 125.5 career sacks, which is tied for 17th in NFL history.
Of the 17 players tied or ahead of Freeney on the all-time sack list, 11 are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Julius Peppers, who is ahead of Freeney, and Terrell Suggs, who is tied with him, are still playing in the NFL.
“Marvelous career,” Polian said. “Hopefully the next step is the Hall of Fame for Dwight.”