The Indianapolis Colts’ decision to induct center Jeff Saturday into the Ring of Honor on Sept. 21 was inevitable based on the player’s outstanding 14-year NFL career as well as his reputation as one of the classiest guys in franchise history.
Should retired offensive tackle Tarik Glenn come next as the 13th member?
Saturday played through 2013, seven years after Glenn’s surprise retirement. Not knocking Saturday’s credentials as a six-time Pro Bowl selection, but a strong argument could be made for Glenn, selected to the Pro Bowl in the final three seasons of his 10-year career.
Glenn didn’t always get the respect around the league as one of the best offensive left tackles, although the Colts considered him an invaluable mainstay. The 6-5, 332-pound blocker played the toughest position on the O-line, protecting quarterback Peyton Manning’s blind side, and started all 154 of his games, missing just six in his career (2003).
Just when he seemed to be at the height of his career, he walked away. The decision undoubtedly caught the Colts off guard — it came in late July of 2007, just before the start of training camp. The Colts had won Super Bowl XLI the previous February, but Glenn said he had lost his passion for the game.
Saturday will become just the second offensive lineman in the Ring of Honor. The first was offensive tackle Chris Hinton in 2001. Hinton played seven of his 13 NFL seasons for the Colts and made the Pro Bowl seven times, six of those years with the blue and white. He was the second player to be inducted after wide receiver Bill Brooks.
Saturday was asked during a Wednesday conference call if Glenn should receive the same honor at some point.
“I would love it,” Saturday said. “I think of Tarik, I think of (offensive tackle) Ryan Diem. I mean those guys, the years that they both spent with the organization and the amount of effort and time they put in, their abilities, I sure hope so.
“Honestly, I don’t even know how you get this, how you earn it or whatever it is, but I love all those guys. All of those guys deserve to be looked at and enshrined the same way. I know there’s limited amount of space and they pick and choose, but the guys you’re talking about, I love them and I played beside them for so many years.”
Colts owner Jim Irsay, who made his late father Robert the first Ring of Honor member in 1996, is considered the man who has the final say on inductions.
Saturday, Diem and Glenn, 39, became close friends during their Colts careers.
“You become family,” Saturday said. “Tarik and I rode together to work every day. We carpooled. We raised our families. Diem’s the same way. Our wives all know each other and hang out. It’s just a family, man. I do, I look at those guys and think the same thing. It would be nice one day if we’re all in there together.”
Diem was a solid offensive right tackle in 11 seasons through 2011, but he never made the Pro Bowl, so it’s unlikely he will be inducted.
The Ring of Honor was once the source of much second-guessing during the Colts’ earlier years, when the team didn’t win. Brooks, for example, played seven of his 11 seasons for the Colts and never made the Pro Bowl, but was the first player inducted in 1998.
Quarterback Jim Harbaugh played just four seasons for the Colts in a 15-year NFL career. But because “Captain Comeback” had one magical year in 1995, by far his best and the only time he was selected to the Pro Bowl, Harbaugh was inducted in 2005.
It’s only a matter of time before the Colts add more deserving players. Quarterback Peyton Manning and wide receiver Reggie Wayne are destined for the same distinction. So, too, are pass rushers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. The timing will depend upon when those players retire.
Glenn has been gone for a long time. It begs the question: Has he been forgotten for the Ring of Honor?
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.