LB Trent Cole feels rejuvenated with Colts after being released by Eagles

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Trent Cole has heard the comments.

He’s too old. It's uncertain how much more the 32-year-old has left to contribute. There won’t be any snaps for him once Robert Mathis returns.

Cole's response to the first two comments about him are, "Look at the tape." And there will be plenty of snaps for Cole when Mathis returns from his torn Achilles because the Colts want to keep as many fresh pass-rushers on the field as possible next season.

"I'm here to do what they tell me to do," Cole said. "I'm glad to be with a team that wants me here, wants my services, and they feel like I can be an impact to this team. That's a great feeling to have, coming to the Colts. We have a lot of talent and a lot of great players here. Just makes you excited for the upcoming season."

Last season in Philadelphia, Cole had 6.5 sacks in 15 games. He hasn't cracked double figures in sacks since 2011, when he had 11. He was released by Philadelphia in the offseason, largely because his cap number was scheduled to be $11.6 million for next season.

As with running back Frank Gore and receiver Andre Johnson, Cole looked around in the offseason for a team that has the potential to make a run at a Super Bowl next season.

The Colts thought enough of Cole to sign him to a two-year, $16 million contract in March. His 85.5 sacks with the Eagles are second only to the late Reggie White in the team's history.

"I've always told [reporters], the footage doesn't lie, and you need to go back and look at the footage, and it'll tell you if I'm going downhill," Cole said when asked whether he still has much left in the tank. "I feel rejuvenated. Getting in the flow with the team and coming out this minicamp, it's been great."

Mathis said last week that his goal is to be on the field for Philadelphia's Week 1 game at Buffalo on Sept. 13, but the reality is there's still a lot of uncertainty surrounding his return from the Achilles injury. That's why Cole has a lot of value to the Colts. He'll be the starter at rush linebacker if Mathis isn't ready to resume that role.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano will have plenty of options to rotate at that position if Mathis is ready for the first game of the season. Jonathan Newsome, Bjoern Werner -- who can play both outside linebacker positions -- and Cam Johnson are also in the mix for snaps at rush linebacker.

"We just keep creating packages," Pagano said. "If we're fortunate enough where we play consistent run defense, because we've played good run defense a ton -- we've just got to be consistent. If we're able to get people in third-and-7-plus, third-and-8-plus, then we will find a way to create some packages to get all those guys on the field at the same time."