Grateful Freeney signs $72 million deal with Colts
By John Clayton
Defensive end Dwight Freeney has spent his entire football career chasing and sacking quarterbacks. Now, he's going to be paid as the premier player at his position.
Freeney, the Indianapolis Colts' franchise player, signed a six-year, $72 million contract with the team Friday that includes a $30 million signing bonus. He becomes the highest paid defensive player in NFL history.
"To have me paid among the top players in the league -- not just as a defensive players -- means a lot of me," said Freeney, who flew to Indianapolis on Thursday night in anticipation of accepting the deal. "[Colts general manager] Bill Polian is the one who drafted me. I was hand-picked by him. He was going to do the right thing for the organization."
Polian drafted Freeney in the first round in 2002 and watched him develop into one of the game's most disruptive defensive players. Freeney registered 56 1/2 sacks during his first five seasons with the Colts and has forced 27 fumbles during his career.