Antoine Bethea Signs Long-Term Deal With Colts

We can shut the book on one of the Indianapolis Colts players contract dispute with the team.  No, Reggie Wayne didn’t get a new deal.  Neither did Robert Mathis. On Friday, Bill Polian and Jim Irsay agreed to terms with Pro-Bowl safety Antoine Bethea and his agent on a contract worth a reported $27 million over four seasons.

Bethea had been absent from all off-season activities while the two-sides negotiated, but he told the Indianapolis Star on Friday that “when August comes, I’ll hit the ground running.”  The deal comes as no real surprise to anyone, but it’s good to see Bethea happy, and back in the fold.  He doesn’t get the publicity some of the more high-profile players on the Colts receive, but he’s every bit as essential to the success of the team.

Bethea entered the league as a sixth-round pick out of tiny Howard University in 2006, and immediately impressed then Head Coach Tony Dungy, earning a starting spot in the secondary as a rookie.  In the four subsequent years, Bethea’s been named to two Pro-Bowls while starting 59 of a possible 64 regular-season games.  He led the team with 126 tackles in 2008, and has registered at least 95 tackles each season.  He’s also registered 11 interceptions, making him perhaps the most consistent and complete player on Jim Caldwell’s defense.

After focusing on the vaunted offense for much of the past decade, Indy has turned its attention to the defensive side of the ball in recent years.  This March they locked up Gary Brackett to a five-year, $33 million contract, and they still have high-impact players like Kelvin Hayden, Bob Sanders, Dwight Freeney, and Mathis secured for the next couple of seasons.  And now we can add Bethea to that list.

Antoine Bethea Highlights

Get ready Indianapolis sports fans, the start of the NFL season is right around the corner, and teams are starting to take shape. Keep checking back us for all your Colts news as it happens.