Dwight Freeney was the starting right defensive end for the Indianapolis Colts, and quite frankly the man was gifted. Freeney was the perfect hybrid of speed and power and has made a living of tormenting opposing linemen and quarterbacks. In the 2002 NFL draft, Dwight was selected 11th over all by the Colts and quickly became an Indianapolis sports fan favorite. He is not only one of the best defensive players in Horseshoe history, he is on pace to be one of the most dominant defenders the National Football League has ever seen.
Born February 19, 1980 in Hartford, Connecticut, Freeney excelled in sports throughout his childhood. In high school, Dwight was a four-sport letterman- picking up four letters in both basketball and baseball, three in football and even one in soccer. Recognizing his outstanding talent for getting into the backfield, Freeny focused on football when it came time for college, and attended the University of Syracuse; he still holds several school and NCAA records.
In 2001, Dwight Freeney was a consensus All-American first-team player as well as the Big East’s co-Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a finalist for several awards such as the Lombardi (best linemen), Bednarik (top defensive player) and Naguriski (outstanding defensive player) Awards. Dwight Freeney still holds the defensive distinction from the 2001 collegiate season when he collected a combined 11 forced fumbles and fumble recoveries. The eight forced fumbles and three fumbles recovered still have Dwight’s name enshrined in the Circle City‘s NCAA Hall of Champions in White River State Park.
While this powerhouse was not born in Indiana, it did not take long for Hoosiers all over the state to fall in love with Dwight Freeney‘s pass-rushing abilities. He is the type of player once thought to only exist in video games. He is the only Colts player to record four straight seasons with double-digit sack totals(2002-2005.) Dwight Freeney is already the career leader in sacks for the Colts, and seems to add to that total every game. In 2004 Freeney lead the entire NFL with 16 sacks, a mark few players have ever attained.
Freeney was one of the core members of the Indianapolis defense that came up huge during the Colts 2007 playoff run that resulted in a Super Bowl Championship. Some other career highlights for Dwight Freeney are his four Pro Bowl selections (2003,2004,2005,2008), three times he has been selected as an All-Pro player (2003,2004,2005) and he was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. All of his hard work was rewarded in July 2007 when Colts owner Jim Irsay signed Dwight to what was at the time the largest contract for a defensive player in NFL history, and second only to Indy teammate Peyton Manning‘s contract.
Even though he played for a team that was often most recognized for its offensive firepower, the Colts defense was one of the quickest and most exciting in the league. Each year, in Autumn, downtown Indianapolis was abuzz with Freeney fever as he preformed his perfected spin-move on weary offensive linemen. This was especially true when the boys in blue were playing at home in Lucas Oil Stadium. Thanks to his defensive prowess, Dwight Freeney quickly became one of the most famous people in Indianapolis.