On the official end for Jeff Saturday

March, 7, 2013
3/07/13
3:18
PM ET
When I started to think of my broad reflection of Jeff Saturday I circled to this piece.

"I've played 10 years man, it's only ended good once," Saturday said, referring to Super Bowl XLI at the end of the 2006 season. "It's awful. What are you going to say? How do you make that finish good? You come out with full expectations to beat this team and play bad. That sums it up."

That quote about the Colts’ staggering loss at San Diego was quintessential Saturday to me: candid, no-nonsense, real, revealing.

[+] EnlargeJeff Saturday and Jim Irsay
AP Photo/AJ MastJim Irsay signed Jeff Saturday to a one-day contract so that Saturday could retire a Colt.
History will always link Saturday to Peyton Manning, and there isn’t a center in football who wouldn’t be pleased to be tied to a quarterback of that quality. ("I rode his coattails for a long time,” Saturday said, per a transcript provided by the Colts.)

History too will remember his role in the CBA solution in 2011, and the picture of him hugging Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Saturday came out of contentious negotiations looking fantastic, something that's not easily done.

The classy Saturday was sure to hit on trainers and equipment men right along with family, fans, ownership and teammates as he offered thanks Thursday at an official retirement news conference at Colts headquarters.

He talked about all the guys he played with, listing 14 specifically, from Manning to Justin Snow.
"Those men had a tremendous impact on my life. This is why we play the game, right? The players, the camaraderie we have in the locker room is unlike anything else on this planet. How much fun I’ve had in that locker room, how much fun I’ve had on plane trips on the way back from wins, on events you have to do in the community, you name it. All the things that we get to do together as a group, it made this job a family for me. I loved playing with each and every one of those guys and all the players that I had the opportunity to play with. I’ve played with a number of men who truly made a marked difference on my life. I encourage people to be a part of this game for that reason. I've played other team sports, I’ve been involved in a lot of other things, but football is the ultimate team sport. These men became my family and made this thing a true sport. We made it happen and we watched the city turn into a football city and I watched all these men mature and have families. We began to do life together and that’s unparalleled and that’s something I will never forget and I always will remember."

He'll function as some sort of ambassador for the Colts as he figures out life in retirement. It will be fun to see how that role evolves and to see him around the team.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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