INDIANAPOLIS – Matt Hasselbeck started his career as a backup to Brett Favre. He could end it being the backup to Andrew Luck.
Less than 24 hours after being released by the Tennessee Titans, the 37-year-old quarterback signed with division rival Indianapolis. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.
It looks like a smart move for the Colts, who lost last year’s backup, free agent Drew Stanton, to Arizona last week.
Indy wanted a veteran backup to help mentor its two young quarterbacks – Luck and Norwell graduate Chandler Harnish, the first and last picks in the 2012 draft.
While Luck set NFL rookie records for attempts and yards passing last season and finished among the league’s all-time rookie leaders in completions and touchdowns, he was sacked 41 times and hit dozens of others, something the Colts tried to fix last week by signing right tackle Gosder Cherilus and guard Donald Thomas. Hasselbeck now becomes Plan B.
His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves, general manager Ryan Grigson said in a statement issued by the team. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.
The Colts are getting a three-time Pro Bowler who led Seattle to its only Super Bowl appearance after the 2005 season. Though Hasselbeck started only five games last season for the Titans, he still completed 62.4 percent of his passes, threw for 1,367 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 81.0. In 2011, his first season in Tennessee, Hasselbeck started all 16 games, completing 61.6 percent of his passes, throwing for 3,571 yards, 18 TDs and 14 interceptions.
Originally a sixth-round draft pick out of Boston College who backed up Favre, former Packers coach Mike Holmgren thought so highly of Hasselbeck that he traded for him in 2001. Hasselbeck went on to have his best pro seasons with the Seahawks, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2003, 2005 and 2007.