Every fan of every team has some players they really loved watching who their team let go and it just downright stung. The part that makes it sting most is the player continuing to have moderate amounts or gobs of success after they have left the team. I compiled an Indianapolis Colts All-Time team for this subject. Now, some of these selections are hard to make because there were not many candidates to choose from for certain positions. Others, there is just no great choice at all. Here are my all-time selections for the Indianapolis Colts.
Quarterback: Peyton Manning
Colt from 1998-2011. Best Season Post-Indy: 2012 in Denver – 4,659 pass yards, 37 pass touchdowns, 105.8 QBR.
Peyton has only been gone from Indianapolis for one season, but many fans still feel the sting. Drafting the next Peyton in Andrew Luck has helped ease the pain, but that did not stop Peyton from having arguably his second best season in the NFL in 2012. Peyton does not have much more time in his career, but he has the Broncos as the current favorites for the Super Bowl in the AFC.
Colt from 1994-1998. Best Season Post-Indy: 2000 in St. Louis – 1,359 rush yards, 18 rush touchdowns, 81 receptions, 830 receiving yards, 8 receiving touchdowns.
Although Marshall Faulk became a big-time player in Indianapolis, not many people probably foresaw what was to come. Faulk was the cornerstone of the St. Louis Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” teams in the early 2000’s. The Rams appeared in two Super Bowls, winning one. In 1999, Faulk posted a career high and then-NFL record 2,429 yards from scrimmage. In 2000, Faulk set the then all-time record for touchdowns in a single season with 26, which has since also been surpassed. Faulk was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Runningback: Edgerrin James
Colt from 1999-2005. Best Season Post-Indy: 2007 in Arizona – 1,222 rush yards, 7 rush touchdowns, 24 receptions, 204 receiving yards.
Although Edgerrin James’ best years were behind him after he left Indianapolis, he still had some success. He ran for 2,895 yards in his three seasons in Arizona, including going over 1,000 in both of his first two seasons in the desert. However, his final season as a Cardinal and his final season in the NFL as a Seattle Seahawk were nothing to talk about at all. He went to the Super Bowl as a member of the Cardinals during the 2008 season.
Wide Receiver: Bill Brooks
Colt from 1986-1992. Best Season Post-Indy: 1995 in Buffalo – 53 receptions, 763 receiving yards, 11 receiving touchdowns.
The Colts Ring of Honor member left Indianapolis in 1992 and played for the Buffalo Bills for three years before wrapping up his career for one season as a Washington Redskin. Brooks hauled in 60 passes for over 700 yards during one of Buffalo’s Super Bowl-appearing years in 1993.
Wide Receiver: Brandon Stokley
Colt from 2003-2006. Best Season Post-Indy: 2007 in Denver – 40 receptions, 635 receiving yards, 5 receiving touchdowns.
Brandon Stokley might be one of Colts’ fans top five favorite wide receivers in Indy history. In my opinion, Stokley helped make the slot receiver such a modern commodity. He played in Denver for three seasons, then Seattle and New York Giants for one year a piece before joining forces with Peyton Manning again in Denver in 2012. Stokley has provided some memorable moments for Denver since he has left Indianapolis. He was on the receiving end of a game-winning 87-yard tipped pass from Kyle Orton in 2009 against the Bengals. He also caught a crucial Peyton Manning touchdown pass in 2012 in the Broncos’ huge comeback win against San Diego.
Colt from 1995-2001. Best Season Post-Indy: 2004 in Tampa Bay – 39 receptions, 345 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns.
Ken Dilger is one of just a few well-known tight ends in Indianapolis Colts history. He joins Dallas Clark and Marcus Pollard as the most accomplished former Indianapolis Colts tight ends. After he left Indianapolis, he was Tampa Bay’s primary tight end for a few seasons. He won the Super Bowl with the Buccaneers during the 2002 season.
Offensive Tackle: Chris Hinton
Colt from 1984-1989. Best Season Post-Indy: 1993 in Atlanta – 16 games started, named All-Pro.
Chris Hinton is one of the better offensive linemen in Indianapolis Colts history, even joining TBF’s Colts All-Time team. After the Colts, he played four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and two with the Minnesota Vikings. He started all 16 games from 1991-1994.
Offensive Tackle: Charlie Johnson
Colt from 2006-2010. Best Season Post-Indy: 2012 in Minnesota – 16 games started, running back Adrian Peterson ran for second-most rushing yards in single season in NFL history.
This will be a much underrated selection. Thinking back to the offensive line struggles the Colts have faced the past two seasons without Johnson, I wished he was still here the whole time. Johnson was Mr. Reliable wherever offensive line coach Howard Mudd needed him – tackle or guard. Johnson has started all 16 games both seasons he has been in Minnesota.
Offensive Guard: Steve McKinney
Colt from 1998-2001. Best Season Post-Indy: 2002-2005 – Started all 16 games each season.
Steve McKinney was brought in with Peyton Manning to help protect him on the interior of the line. However, it can be argued that McKinney’s best portion of his career came in the six seasons he spent in Houston.
Offensive Guard: Jake Scott
Colt from 2004-2007. Best Season Post-Indy: 2009 in Tennessee – 16 games started, running back Chris Johnson became only the sixth player to run for over 2,000 yards in a single season.
Jake Scott stayed with the Colts for one year after helping lead the team to a Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl XLI. Since leaving for the Tennessee Titans, Scott started all 16 games for the Titans from 2008-2011. Scott played and started in 7 games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, and is now a member of the Detroit Lions.
Center: Ray Donaldson
Colt from 1984-1992. Best Season Post-Indy: 1995 in Dallas – 12 games appeared in and started, named to the Pro Bowl and won Super Bowl XXX.
Since the end of his tenure in Indianapolis, Ray Donaldson began to accumulate some injuries. He played for the Seattle Seahawks for two seasons in 1993 and 1994, but resurrected his career as a member of the Dallas Cowboys dynasty of the mid-1990’s. He made the Pro Bowl during both seasons in Dallas, in 1995 and 1996.
Defensive End: Darrell Reid
Colt from 2005-2008. Best Season Post-Indy: 2009 in Denver – 24 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 passes defended.
This is another overlooked selection because Darrell Reid was not a big star here in Indianapolis. However, this selection was made for two reasons: 1) There were not a lot of choices for defensive end, trust me. 2) Reid was arguably the Colts’ best special teamer during his tenure here. Everyone remembers his mammoth hit on the Titans’ kick returner Chris Henry.
Defensive End: Raheem Brock
Colt from 2002-2009. Best Season Post-Indy: 2010 in Seattle – 32 tackles, 9.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovered, 3 passes defended.
Raheem Brock was a key member of the Colts defensive line for several years – the organization thought enough of him to keep him around for eight years. Brock averaged 3.5 sacks per year in Indianapolis. That is not bad for a player who was not looked at as one of the team’s primary pass rushers. Brock spent his final two seasons in the NFL as a member of Seattle’s improving defense.
Colt from 1990-1996. Best Season Post-Indy: 1999 in Baltimore – 36 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovered.
Although he is one of the best defensive tackles in Indianapolis Colts history, Tony Siragusa’s most well-known years were spent as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. During his time there, Baltimore fielded some of the best defenses in recent NFL history. Baltimore’s 2000 Super Bowl-winning team allowed the fewest amount of points in NFL regular season history.
Defensive Tackle: Ellis Johnson
Colt from 1995-2001. Best Season Post-Indy: 2003 in Atlanta – 42 tackles, 8.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovered, 1 pass defended.
Ellis Johnson was a mainstay on the Colts defensive line during the mid-to-late 1990’s and another member of TBF’s Colts All-Time team. Although he was not relied on as a starter after he left Indianapolis, he was a key member of Atlanta and Denver’s defensive lines. He compiled 18.0 sacks in three seasons away from Indianapolis – not bad for a defensive tackle.
Linebacker: Marcus Washington
Colt from 2000-2003. Best Season Post-Indy: 2005 in Washington – 94 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 1 interception, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumbles recovered, 3 passes defended.
The non-renewal of Marcus Washington’s career in Indianapolis began a trend in town of then general manager Bill Polian seemingly not valuing the team’s big-time linebackers. He always seemed to replace them adequately, but fans were never happy about Washington, among other linebackers, not being brought back to Indy. Washington went on to play five seasons in Washington, even making the Pro Bowl in 2004.
Colt from 1999-2002. Best Season Post-Indy: 2005 in Jacksonville – 132 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovered, 6 passes defended, 1 touchdown.
Peterson left town the year before Marcus Washington. Peterson always played with a chip on his shoulder against the Colts for not bringing him back. He got his chance to exact revenge twice a year as a division rival with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-2008. Peterson was named 2nd Team All-Pro in 2005. Peterson has appeared to close out his career as a member of the Atlanta Falcons from 2009-2012.
Linebacker: David Thornton
Colt from 2002-2005. Best Season Post-Indy: 2007 in Tennessee – 122 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovered, 6 passes defended.
Another Colts leading tackler who left town is David Thornton. Thornton was a tackle machine in Indianapolis, and continued his effort as a member of the Tennessee Titans. He played four seasons in Nashville before returning to the Colts as director of player engagement.
Cornerback: Tim Jennings
Colt from 2006-2009. Best Season Post-Indy: 2012 in Chicago – 60 tackles, 9 interceptions, 21 passes defended, 1 touchdown.
ASGJKBHSDGH!!! This selection can only be underlined by frustration for Colts fans. During his tenure in Indianapolis, Tim Jennings never quite got a grasp of things in three seasons. He was serviceable enough to put on the field, but was often a liability against opposing receivers. He was often a scapegoat for criticism by us fans. When word got out in 2010 that the Chicago Bears had signed Jennings, most of us thought “Haha, good luck Bears!” Oh boy. Jennings finally turned it around in Chicago. In 2012, he led the entire NFL in interceptions and earned a Pro Bowl nod and 2nd Team All-Pro honors. That one hurts.
Cornerback: Ray Buchanan
Colt from 1993-1996. Best Season Post-Indy: 1998 in Atlanta – 61 tackles, 7 interceptions, 1 forced fumble.
Ray Buchanan is a player the Colts likely wish they would have held onto after viewing how his entire twelve-year career panned out. He bounced back and forth from safety to cornerback while in Indianapolis, but became a mainstay at cornerback for Atlanta from 1997-2003. Buchanan earned Pro Bowl honors in 1998, as well as All-Pro honors in 1998. Buchanan finished his career with 31 interceptions away from Indy (47 total).
Colt in 2011. Best Season Post-Indy: 2012 in New York – 66 tackles, 8 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumbles recovered, 11 passes defended.
In my opinion, this one hurts worse than Tim Jennings. Brown was a journeyman in his first two seasons in the NFL, spending 2010 in Oakland and 2011 with the Colts. The Colts brought him in during the disaster that was 2011 because there were several defensive backs that were injured. Brown made eight appearances during 2011, but never really got noticed. In 2012 with the Giants he saw game action due to injury once more, but this time he made sure he got noticed. Brown made arguably more plays than any other safety in the league; so much so, that he may have just found himself a long-term home with the New York Giants. The Giants released the player Brown replaced in 2012, former first-round pick Kenny Phillips.
Safety: Jason Belser
Colt from 1992-2000. Best Season Post-Indy: 2002 in Kansas City – 54 tackles, 1 interception, 2 fumbles recovered.
Belser was never what you would call a “ball hawk” or a Pro Bowler, but he was basically the original Antoine Bethea. Antoine has never gotten high interception totals, but he is always around the ball making tackles and saving touchdowns. After spending nine years of his eleven-year career in Indianapolis he went west to Kansas City. Although he appeared in all 16 games for KC in 2001, he did not start any games. In his final season in 2002, he started 8 of 16 games.
Kicker: Dean Biasucci
Colt from 1984-1994. Best Season Post-Indy: 1995 in St. Louis – 9 of 12 field goals made, 13 of 14 extra points made.
Dean Biasucci played in Indianapolis from 1984 all the way to 1994 before finishing off his career for one final season as a member of the Rams. Biasucci made one Pro Bowl in 1987, and was named to the All-Pro team in 1987 and 1988.
Colt from 1995-1998). Best Season Post-Indy: 2000 in Cleveland – 108 punts, 45.5 average, 67-yard long, 0 punts blocked.
Although, Chris Gardocki’s best seasons statistically may have been in Indianapolis, his 16-year career was spread out pretty evenly between Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Gardocki may be best known for never having a punt blocked in his entire NFL career.
Return Specialist: Terrence Wilkins
Colt from 1999-2001, 2003, 2006. Best Season Post-Indy: 2002 in St. Louis – 25 punt returns, 242 punt return yards, 9.7-yard average, 47 kickoff returns, 1,074 kickoff return yards, 22.9-yard average.
There are really no great options here. Although Terrence Wilkins left Indianapolis for St. Louis in 2002, he came back to Indianapolis in 2003 and 2006. Wilkins did not score any return touchdowns for the Rams in 2002, but he can be classified as a serviceable return man in his one season there.