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Dwight Freeney wants to retire with Indianapolis Colts

The storylines in Indianapolis were never-ending.

Andrew Luck was the No. 1 pick. Coach Chuck Pagano battled leukemia. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was named the 2012 Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year. The 12-month turnaround from two wins to 11 was completely unexpected.

Lost in the shuffle was the status of linebacker Dwight Freeney. The 11-year veteran has made it seven Pro Bowls, is a three-time first-team All Pro and is the all-time franchise leader in sacks. There should be more talk about a player with those credentials possibly leaving the organization that drafted him No. 11 overall in 2002.

"It would be great to finish off my career as an Indianapolis Colt," Freeney told NFL.com's Austin Knoblauch on Thursday. "I've been there my whole career, and I don't know anything different. ... Ideally, it would be great to stay there. But it is a business, so we'll see.

"Right now, I'm just thinking about Indianapolis until they tell me otherwise."

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He'll be told otherwise sometime soon. At least he should be. Freeney never quite adjusted to being a 3-4 linebacker after playing his first 10 years as a 4-3 defensive end. He was a liability in coverage and managed just five sacks. That's a career-low outside of 3.5 sacks in 2007 when he played just nine games. A pass-rushing linebacker is high on the list of Colts' needs this offseason and Robert Mathis made the transition much better.

Freeney believes he'll be back, but is that realistic? He watched Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai and Gary Brackett walk out that door last year. And Freeney knows his career is nearing an end regardless of what jersey he wears on Sundays.

This is the next era of Colts football and it's hard to see how Freeney fits.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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