Should Colts retire Dwight Freeney’s No. 93 instead of giving it to new fifth-rounder?

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 26: Dwight Freeney #93 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 26: Dwight Freeney #93 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts have been very stingy with retired numbers over the years, as Peyton Manning’s No. 18 is the only number worn by a star who played after the Baltimore move that is in the rafters. At some point, one has to imagine Dwight Freeney will see his No. 93 put in that tier.

Primarily in tandem with fellow Colts legend Robert Mathis, Freeney and his trademark spin move helped Indianapolis assert themselves as one of the best teams of the early 2000s. Freeney has a legitimate argument when it comes to the debate over who is the best post-Baltimore Colts defensive player.

One would think that a number with so much tradition and weight behind it would b treated with reverence by the organization. However, as has been proven with Indianapolis’ allocation of numbers to their rookie class, Freeney is not held in that rarified tier by the franchise.

Fifth-round rookie Eric Johnson was assigned Freeney’s No. 93 upon arriving in Indianapolis. Considering that second-round pick Alec Pierce did not use his college No. 12 due to the ghost of Andrew Luck hovering over this team, giving Freeney’s digit to a rookie is surprising. Freeney should’ve been the last Colt to wear that number.

The Colts should retire Dwight Freeney’s No. 93.

During his 11-year career in Indianapolis, Freeney has amassed 107.5 sacks while contributing to a half-dozen teams that went deep into the postseason. Indy’s defense in Manning’s prime was often volatile, but Freeney was one of the few constants on that unit.

While he didn’t end his career in the most memorable fashion by bouncing around from playoff team to playoff team, Freeney’s accomplishments in Indianapolis could eventually carry him to Canton. Hitting those sack numbers and making seven Pro Bowls is usually a surefire ticket for induction.

Johnson is going to be a 24-year-old rookie coming from a smaller FCS program at Missouri State. While he could eventually evolve into a solid player given his pass-rush potential, wearing Freeney’s number is putting a big chunk of unnecessary pressure on a guy who is just trying to make the team as a rookie.

With the aura of Manning hovering over the franchise and all of the great players who played alongside him, Freeney’s quality as a player might be lost on a nationwide audience. Colts fans who saw those teams in action are well aware of how good and how important Freeney was. At some point, that number will be immortalized.