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Matt Hasselbeck 'strongly leaning toward' playing an 18th season

Would the Colts be interested in bringing back 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck to again back up Andrew Luck? AP Photo/AJ Mast

INDIANAPOLIS - Forty-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is not shutting the door on returning for an 18th NFL season. That's what he said on the "Brock and Salk" show on 710 ESPN in Seattle on Thursday.

"I haven't really made up my mind completely on it," Hasselbeck said. "You have to kind of count the cost to what it would mean. What you're saying 'yes' to and what you're saying 'no' to. My kids are getting older, but all in all I would say that I'm strongly leaning toward playing again. We'll see."

If Hasselbeck does opt to play another season, the Indianapolis Colts would have to decide if they want to re-sign the free agent quarterback, who not only has been one of the best quotes inside the locker room, but also a strong mentor for starting quarterback Andrew Luck. The Colts have to position themselves to have a younger backup for Luck at some point because of Hasselbeck's age. The Colts signed former first-round pick Josh Freeman in Week 17 last season after Luck, Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst were lost for the season. Freeman went 15-of-28 for 149 yards after less than a week of practice. Freeman, who is currently under contract, is 12 years younger than Hasselbeck. The Colts also have Stephen Morris, who they signed off Philadelphia's practice squad in Week 16, under contract.

Hasselbeck spent his first two seasons getting all his snaps in games in which the outcome had been determined. But he became one of the feel-good stories of the NFL when Luck was injured last season. Hasselbeck won his first four starts before his body started taking a pounding. He was knocked out -- and later returned -- in three straight games before his season ended with a shoulder injury in Week 16 against the Miami Dolphins. Hasselbeck finished his 17th season by going 156-of-256 for 1,690 yards, with nine touchdowns and five interceptions. He was also 5-3 as a starter.