The Colts have purged their roster of some of the all time greats, with more farewells in the works. This is the first of a recurring series saying farewell to Colts greats. Portions of this essay originally appeared in Blue Blue: Tales of Glory of the Indianapolis Colts.
Gary Brackett’s story is as inspirational as it is incredible. An undrafted free agent out of Rutgers University, Brackett made the Colts roster and stuck despite enduring the death of both parents within a 16 month stretch. Brackett triumphed over the pain and adversity in his life to become the Colts starting middle linebacker and team captain.
A great leader and one of the finest citizens to play in Indianapolis,32 Brackett also showed a penchant for making big plays. His biggest moment was forcing a Jerome Bettis fumble in the 2005 playoffs. Brackett was the only Colts’ linebacker in the ‘00s to gain a second contract with the club as a starter. As the middle linebacker, his responsibilities included covering the middle of the field on passing downs. His injury late in the 2008 season directly lead to the Colts loss in the playoffs that year.
Brackett's cherub face and stout frame masked a speedy player with great range, especially against tight ends. My brother dubbed him, "The Rolly-Poly Bat Out of Hell".
Brackett was the consummate professional and team leader, serving as a player rep during the contentious lockout.
After the 2009 off-season, he was resigned to a five year contract, but was released after failing a physical. Brackett appeared in only 13 games over the past two seasons, including missing virtually the entire 2011 campaign. He hurt himself returning an interception against Houston in week one.
He is sixth all time in tackles and 24th in games played in Indianapolis Colts history. His book "Winning" is on sale around Indianapolis.
Thanks for memories, 58.
Is Brackett going to have to retire?
He may not have the typical size but #58 could play for my team anytime. It would be sad that if he wants to continue his career, that there is not a place in today's NFL for Brackett.