Farewell, Bob

February 18, 2011 – 1:45 pm by Kevin Johnston

What was seemingly inevitable is now a sad reality. According to Jim Irsay via Twitter, the great Bob Sanders was just released by the Indianapolis Colts this morning.

It was undeniably the only option left for the Colts, but it is still a sad day for many fans in Indianapolis. On a per game basis, there’s no denying that Sanders was easily one of the best safeties of all time. During the Colts’ magical 2006-07 playoff run, the things Bob did for that defense just can’t be described in words.

The Colts’ run defense that season was better served as a punch line for a cringe-worthy knock knock joke. The moment Bob stepped on the field in the playoffs it was suddenly a completely different unit. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a defensive player have a bigger impact on a team than Bob did in the 2006-07 season. Bob brought passion, swagger, and a toughness rivaled by only the NFL’s elite. The Colts’ defense went from a bottom five unit to a borderline top five unit overnight.

But when you play in less than 50 percent of the games over the course of your career, it’s time to let go. The Colts had no other choice; you can’t have that much money tied up in a player who just can’t stay healthy. It’s a lot like when two of your close friends from high school or college start dating and you like both of them equally. She likes long walks on the beach, puppies, and flowers. He likes motocross, nose candy and anime porn. You don’t want to choose sides but you know it’s just not going to work out in the end. To no one’s surprise, eventually they break up because the writing was on the wall for years. It’s usually for the better for all parties involved.

That’s kind of how this relationship between Sanders and the Colts has felt for the last several years. We all knew it was coming, so there’s no need to get your tear ducts flowing… but there is that slight moment of pause, that smile that comes across your face when you think about what could have been had a few things been a little different.

Bob brought enough happiness to the city of Indianapolis that I’ll definitely choose to remember the good times. When the only knock on a guy is that he basically plays too hard, what’s not to like? It’s easy to label him fragile and injury-prone, but Bob was a total beast when healthy and attacked the ball carrier like a man possessed. You’re going to get hurt when you’re flying through the air on every play. I had no problem taking the good with the bad. Unfortunately, the bad meant standing on the sidelines in street clothes.

In our lifetimes, Colts’ fans may never see a defensive player rocking a horseshoe helmet with the same tenacity. It’s a sad ending for such a dominant player, but Sanders is and always will be a legend of mythical proportions in Indianapolis.  Thanks for the memories, Bob! And look on the bright side… you played for the Colts, so there’s at least an 80 percent chance the Titans will try to sign you.

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