While the Internet may have been abuzz with news about water on Mars and melting polar ice caps on Earth, as published in the magazine Science Friday, Indianapolis Colts fans were more concerned about Saturday. Of course, we’re all ready for the weekend after a long week at work and five full days of training camp leading up to tomorrow’s Blue v. White scrimmage, but the Saturday that we’re really interested in is Jeff Saturday. After spending the first four days of workouts as a spectator, Saturday finally dressed for Friday’s practices, but he still didn’t do anything too strenuous. The question which is starting to bother me, just a bit, is why? Why is Saturday taking his return to the trenches so slowly?
The official story coming from the Colts and Saturday is that the team offered him some time off to recuperate from the rigors of the CBA negotiations, with which Saturday was intimately involved. In fact, many players and people who were close to the process have hinted that Saturday may have been as instrumental as anyone from the players’ side for actually getting a deal done in a more or less timely fashion. Certainly, the entire ordeal must have been emotionally draining, and Saturday certainly spent a lot of time traveling and away from his family during the months of negotiations. And who can forget the touching moment that he shared with Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft as the lockout ended shortly after Kraft’s wife, Myra, passed away after a long battle with cancer? After the jump, I’ll tell you why I’m starting to feel uneasy, though.
So maybe Saturday, at age 36, is just tired and wants to ease back into the grind of an NFL season. I certainly hope that’s the case, but the longer the babying drags out, the more likely it seems that there could be another reason for the delay. Could he be nursing some sort of injury that no one is privy to, for example? The Colts have proven themselves adept at keeping Peyton Manning’s injuries hush-hush until the last minute, so it’s not too hard to fathom that they might be doing the same thing with Saturday.
For now, I’m happy that Saturday has at least made it back onto the field, even if in a limited fashion. If his reps and hits don’t step up soon, though, I will start to worry in earnest. With Manning nursing a damaged neck, a healthy and prepared Saturday is absolutely essential to Indy’s Super Bowl hopes this season. With a young line around him and his possible heir (Jake Kirkpatrick) waiting in the wings, Saturday will also be counted upon to do a lot of teaching in the next few seasons. Not seeing him regularly definitely makes for some uneasy feelings.