For a decade, Peyton Manning was shielded from one of the NFL's best pass rushers because, well, Dwight Freeney was also a member of the Indianapolis Colts. Now, Manning will have to see his former teammate twice per year in divisional matchups. Freeney, now with the Chargers, is already dreaming of his first bit hit on Peyton Manning.
"It would definitely be great to get after him," Freeney said on XTRA Sports 1360. "He’s a great competitor, I’m a great competitor. How many times have I envisioned hitting him during practice, when he had that five-yard halo around him and you couldn’t go in that circle? Millions of times. So it would be fun to get after him a little bit."
In 11 seasons with the Colts, Freeney accounted for 106.5 sacks and was disruptive on countless plays. Peyton Manning has never been particularly susceptible to sacks. He gets the ball out of his hands to open receivers. If Freeney gets a shot at Manning, he has to make it count since he may only get one or two shots per game.
As for envisioning the moment of impact "millions of times," we'll leave it up to the psychologists to determine if that's a completely normal thing to think about on a pleasant Friday afternoon. Something tells me Freeney may actually agonize over getting a sack on Manning when they play each other for the first time.