Green Bay Packers center Jeff Saturday…wow, that still just seems strange to see that in print. Jeff Saturday, after 13 years anchoring the Indianapolis Colts' offensive line, makes his return to the Circle City on Sunday when the Packers and Colts do battle at Lucas Oil Stadium. Saturday has mixed emotions about this game and returning to the city and franchise he called home for so long.
"Obviously you’re coming back with a job at hand, but I spent my whole career there. You’re 13 years not only on a football team, but helping build a community. My wife and I for so many years have been so involved. You’ve got mixed emotions. It’s never easy to be on the other side. I obviously have so much respect for the Colts and their organization. It’s always tough. But you’re coming back with a job to get a win and that’s what we’re going down for.”
The job Saturday has to do is to win a football game for his new team, the Green Bay Packers. If he's successful, he'll send a throng of people who used to cheer his exploits home very disappointed. Saturday realizes though, that's all part and parcel of the business of the NFL.
"Professionally I left on as good terms as you can. They didn’t release me. The time was just up. That’s where football is. I thank the Colts and Mr. Irsay for all the years that he gave me. Those guys have been a class organization and I have a ton of respect for them. I don’t think the fans have any hostility towards me going anywhere else. They all know it’s business. Hopefully it’ll be a warm reception.”
Saturday expects a large contingent of friends and family to be in attendance on Sunday and looks forward to renewing some old acquaintances, both on and off the field. Although few players remain from the roster Saturday played on, he said he still maintains contact with former teammates like Reggie Wayne and Anthony Castonzo.
Saturday also intimated that when his playing career is over, he would be open to returning to Indianapolis and working for the Colts' organization.
“I think Indy is eventually my home. That’s what my family, my wife, all three of my kids are Hoosiers, that’s what we know. Our church is there, my kids’ schools, everything is back there. We have made Indy our home for the 13 years I was there. We still have our home there and we’ll go back in the offseason. I’m not planning to make any changes with that. I love that community and I’ve been very involved, and my wife has been very involved for so many years. I’m not going to pull up roots just because I’m not playing football. It’s a great place to raise a family and I’m very proud of the community I live in.”
"I know Jim (Irsay) has made it very clear that the opportunity (to work with the Colts) would be there. I’ll look at it. I strongly considered it this time. He made it an option before I even came back and played football. Jim has treated me as well as you could possibly ask for as an owner. Pete Ward the same way. Those guys have been just fantastic to me and have made it very clear that I’d be offered something and they would love me to be around the organization."
Colts fans will think it strange to see Saturday on the opposing sideline Sunday. For Saturday, he just hopes he can find his way to the right locker room.
"The crazy thing is I don’t think I’ve ever even been to the visitors’ locker room in Indy. I don’t even know where I’m going to be. It’s all going to look different and obviously coming out and seeing the team. You’re so accustomed to seeing that blue and the horseshoe and the whole deal. Hopefully I don’t jog the wrong way early. I’ll turn around and head back towards the right side.”
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