Looming free agent T.Y. Hilton wants to stay with Colts, wants Philip Rivers back
INDIANAPOLIS — Like fellow looming free agent, Philip Rivers, T.Y. Hilton hopes Sunday is not his final game wearing the blue horeshoe on his helmet. Both veterans intend to take part in a playoff game next weekend.
But unlike Rivers, the 31-year-old wide receiver has said he wants to keep playing football beyond this season. And Hilton still hopes it will be while wearing an Indianapolis Colts uniform.
The wide receiver doubled down Thursday on his preseason hopes of signing one more contract with the Colts.
“No, not at all," Hilton said when asked if his desires had changed over the course of the season. "It’s in God’s hands so what’s for me is for me so nobody can take that away. We’ll see.”
In May, Hilton said he wanted to be "a Colt for life."
"I want to be here," the nine-year veteran said. "But (an extension) takes two sides. That’s up to Mr. (Jim) Irsay and Chris (Ballard) to get the job done. For me, I want to be a Colt."
"Whatever I sign for on my next contract, that’ll be when I hang it up. Whether it’s two years, three years, four years, whatever it is. Whatever I sign for on my next contract, that’ll be it."
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An extension, however, was not reached and Hilton has said throughout the year that negotiations have been put on the back burner until the end of the season.
After a slow start to the 2020 campaign, Hilton started to emerge at the end of November, racking up 24 catches, 408 yards and four touchdowns over the past five games. While his season totals (53 catches, 735 yards, four touchdowns) aren't what Hilton is accustomed to producing in a healthy season, he has proved of late that he still has plenty of football left in him.
Despite not delivering star-like numbers, Hilton hasn't gone full prima donna like other star wide receivers might. Instead, Colts coach Frank Reich said, he has been an exemplary teammate.
He has sacrificed for the team.
"The thing that I would really want people to know, is just what a great teammate this guy is,” Reich said a few weeks ago. “He is not just a superstar player, but as this year has gone on and his numbers have not been huge, the way he has approached practices, the way he has approached meetings, how he has celebrated his teammates’ success even when he wasn’t getting the ball … it was first-rate in every way.”
Whether the last football of Hilton's career is played with the Colts or with another team will be settled in the coming months. Hilton, however, has said he has not thought about the possibility of Sunday's game against Jacksonville being his final one in Indianapolis.
“No, not at all, Hilton said. "Go out there and play my game, and whatever happens, happens.”
During his chat with local media on Thursday, Hilton also addressed the Rivers situation. He advocated strongly for the 39-year-old quarterback's return to Indianapolis in 2021.
"Absolutely" Hilton said. "It would be dumb for him not to be."
That echoed what star linebacker Darius Leonard said earlier in the day about Rivers.
"He’s been balling," Leonard said of Rivers. "Does it look like it’s Year 17, because I mean he’s been playing well. He’s been playing well for the past couple weeks. I don’t see a slow up in him besides him not leaving the pocket, but he never had that (laughs). Uncle Phil has never been fast. But he’s been playing great. I don’t see anything slowing him down. ... I feel like he has more left in the tank.”
Follow IndyStar Colts Insider Jim Ayello on Twitter: @jimayello.