Colts won't play against a familiar face

INDIANAPOLIS – The Oct. 14 game at San Diego was supposed to be the start of back-to-back meetings between the Indianapolis Colts and two players who were key fixtures in the organization for a long time.

Dwight Freeney and the Chargers were to be up first, followed by Peyton Manning and Denver Broncos on Oct. 20.

Freeney won’t face his former team, unfortunately. He is out for the rest of the season with a torn quad.

“We were all sick to see that his season was cut short by the injury,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “You can’t say enough great things about Dwight. I know we only had one season together, but when you look at what he did for this organization and this city and all those types of things and his production. He’s a great, great football player. Again, we all hated to see that his season got cut short. We don’t want to see anybody get injured, nobody on our team, nobody on our opponent’s team. You hate to see injuries, but they happen. Nothing but great things to say about Dwight.”

Colts linebacker Robert Mathis, who tormented quarterbacks opposite of Freeney for 10 seasons, recently said he knows his former teammate will bounce back from the injury and continue to be effective when he returns.

Freeney spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Colts, totaling 107.5 sacks and 258 tackles. Like Mathis, Freeney had to adjust his game to fit Pagano’s 3-4 defensive scheme last season.

“Coming in here in our first year, the strain that changing systems put on him and Robert and just how they bought in and did everything that we asked," Pagano said. "I got nothing but fond memories, obviously, and great things to say about him."

The Colts decided not to re-sign Freeney during the offseason. He told SI.com in August that the organization didn’t even make him an offer. “I wished they would have offered me something so I could’ve retired a Colt,” Freeney told the website.

Pagano will go against somebody he knows very well in San Diego next week. His younger brother, John, is the Chargers defensive coordinator.

“Another ballgame, it’s just another ballgame,” Chuck Pagano said. “We’ve played each other before. There’s no communication this week, for obvious reasons.”