Jeff Saturday

Baltimore Ravens

According to Sports Illustrated, Saturday was ranked as the No. 11 center available in the 1998 NFL Draft.[5] He was described as “somewhat an overachiever, has worked to make himself better,” but also as “an undersized guy [who] simply has trouble matching up against power NTs that can overwhelm him”.[6] He went undrafted, but the Baltimore Ravens signed him as a free agent on April 27, 1998, only to waive him on June 12, 1998. He then returned to Raleigh, North Carolina, and took a job as a manager at an electrical supply store.[3]

Indianapolis Colts

Saturday first came to the attention of the Indianapolis Colts during the 1998 season, when Hobgood-Chittick was on the roster. As Hobgood-Chittick would recall in 2012,

I had no footing at all with that franchise, so I stood outside [Bill] Polian’s door in my dirty sweats, saying a prayer. I walked in and said, “There’s a guy selling electrical supplies in Raleigh right now who whipped all those first-round draft choices at North Carolina every day.” Polian looked at me and said, “I love it. Let’s get him in here for a workout.”

The Colts signed him as a free agent on January 7, 1999. In his rookie season, Saturday backed up starting guard Steve McKinney, and earned his first NFL start at left guard on November 21, 1999, against the Philadelphia Eagles. After only 2 regular season starts in 1999, Saturday started all 16 regular season games of the 2000 season at center for the Colts, and continued to start every game thereafter – for a total of 85 consecutive games – before sitting out 2 games with an injury in December of 2004. Saturday finished his time with the Colts as the team’s starting center for 12 straight seasons, and was the anchor of the Colts’ offensive line, which gave up the fewest quarterback sacks among all NFL teams in the 2004, 2005, and 2006 seasons. Trivially, Saturday attempted a pass once, during a game in 2004, but it fell incomplete.

Though the Colts won at least 10 regular season games for five consecutive years under Head Coach Tony Dungy, the team could not get to the Super Bowl, losing in the AFC Playoffs from 2002 to 2005. In 2006, the Colts went 12-4 in the regular season and earned the 3rd seed in the AFC. On January 21, 2007, Saturday helped the Colts win the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots when he recovered a teammate’s fumble in the end zone and scored a touchdown. Saturday also provided the key block on the game-winning touchdown run by Joseph Addai, pancaking Vince Wilfork. Peyton Manning, the Colts Quarterback at the time and a longtime friend, claims that Saturday wants this play to be known as “The Block.” Two weeks later, Saturday helped the Colts win Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears.

On February 26, 2009, Saturday signed a three-year $13.3 million contract with the Colts including a $7.45 million signing bonus.

During his time with the Colts, Saturday started 188 of 197 games. He became a free agent after the 2011 season.

Green Bay Packers

Saturday and Evan Dietrich-Smith warming up prior to the Packers preseason game at Cincinnati on August 23, 2012.

Saturday signed a two-year deal with the Green Bay Packers for $7.75 million on March 23, 2012. After an up-and-down season, Saturday was benched on December 21, 2012.  Despite this, Saturday was later announced as the Back-Up Center for the NFC in the 2013 Pro Bowl. In the Pro Bowl, despite being on opposite teams, Saturday and long-time Colts teammate Peyton Manning shared one final snap together.

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