Jeff Saturday

Indianapolis Colts head coach Jeff Saturday watches from the sideline during the second half against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 17 in Minneapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — Jeff Saturday has seen many a season finale without significant implications.

For most of his playing career with the Indianapolis Colts, the starters sat in the final week of the regular season because the AFC South title and playoff seeding were already determined.

But he also saw the other side of the coin. His last game with the Colts in 2011 was a loss at Jacksonville that clinched the No. 1 overall pick and heralded the arrival of quarterback Andrew Luck.

There’s not even that much drama on the line Sunday when Indianapolis (4-11-1) hosts the Houston Texans (2-13-1) in a game that will finally pull the curtain on this disappointing campaign.

“You’ve got to play for the guy beside you,” the Colts interim head coach said Friday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. “It’s playing for the guy beside you, making sure — you have one, final opportunity. We all signed up for a minimum of 17 (games), and you’re excited about every opportunity you get, and so you want to go out and leave your best on the field. You want to play for the guy beside you, and we talked about how different a season feels when you finish with a win as opposed to finishing with a loss and just the entire offseason, the entire process you go through, how much better you feel.

“That’s going to be the same conversation that (Texans head coach) Lovie’s (Smith) having with his group down there and every other team in the NFL that’s not in the playoffs. That’s part of being what a professional football player is about. There’s nothing easy about it, but you have to go out and put your best foot forward Sunday.”

There’s been little easy about this entire week around the NFL.

Since Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field during “Monday Night Football,” the thoughts and prayers of the entire league have been centered around the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he is recovering.

There was more good news Friday with word from doctors Hamlin is breathing on his own and talking to visitors.

It’s lifted a load off the shoulders of players across the country who must suit up this weekend with a full understanding of the dangers of the game — no matter how much, or how little, is on the line.

“The energy out on the field has been really good,” Saturday said. “I’ve been proud of them, like I told you guys the other day, what they’re going through and just the stages of concern and grief and prayer and all the different things that have come at them this this week — I thought they responded really well.

“Been really proud of those guys just fighting through what they’re dealing with emotionally and I think they’ve done a really good job talking with each other and leaning on each other and the resources we have here in the building. So I’ve been really proud that they have expressed how they’re feeling and (are) continuing to work.”


“I’m not very aware. I’m glad you told me, but I’m not very aware. I’m sure he is aware, but yeah, from a player perspective, you want those guys — those are big-time for your career. So those things are always talked about ever since I was a player, whether it was Reggie (Wayne) or Dallas (Clark), whoever’s chance it is.” — Saturday on wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. needing four catches Sunday for 100 on the season.


The Colts ruled out quarterback Nick Foles (ribs) and tight end Kylen Granson (ankle) for Sunday’s game.

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore (wrist) and cornerback Brandon Facyson (concussion) were listed as questionable. Facyson was a full participant in Friday’s practice but still needs to clear league protocol. Gilmore hasn’t practiced all week but has “a chance” to play, according to Saturday.

Houston ruled out wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) and offensive lineman Jimmy Morrissey (concussion). Defensive back Steven Nelson (illness), defensive lineman Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (illness) and tight end O.J. Howard (hip) were listed as questionable.

Trending Video