Colts’ DeForest Buckner described signing the extension as an obvious decision.

As the Indianapolis Colts prepared for the 2024 season, their priority was retaining their own players.

General manager Chris Ballard consistently emphasized the importance of nurturing and retaining their talent, while head coach Shane Steichen stressed the significance of maintaining continuity within the team. Aligned in their approach, the Colts moved forward with their strategy.

Their efforts began with securing their free agents, including Michael Pittman Jr., Grover Stewart, and Kenny Moore II, who received long-term extensions. Additionally, players like Zaire Franklin were extended before their contracts expired, demonstrating the team’s commitment to preserving its core for the long term.

Among the key figures in the Colts’ core is DeForest Buckner. With just one year remaining on his current contract, Ballard and the Colts were determined not to risk losing their Pro Bowl defender in free agency.

Consequently, the Colts and Buckner reached an agreement on a two-year, $46 million extension on Monday, ensuring Buckner’s presence with the team through the 2026 season. For Buckner, the decision to remain with the Colts was an easy one.


“It was a straightforward decision for me to return and stay with the team and this organization,” Buckner disclosed on Tuesday. “My relationship with Chris (Ballard) played a significant role. Every offseason, I have a one-on-one with Chris where we discuss how the season went and other details. He asked me if I was still content being here, and I replied, ‘Absolutely.’ I cherish the relationships I’ve formed, my teammates, and the direction this team is heading. I can envision it. So, it was effortless for me to make that choice, and my family’s well-being here was another factor. They’ve been thriving, so it was a no-brainer for me.”

The Colts’ acquisition of Buckner from the San Francisco 49ers in 2020 has been highly successful. Since joining the Colts, Buckner has amassed impressive statistics, including 281 tackles, 42 tackles for loss, 32.5 sacks, 87 QB hits, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and 16 passes defended. Additionally, Buckner has earned two Pro Bowl selections and a First-Team All-Pro recognition since his arrival in Indy.

Buckner’s on-field contributions aside, he embodies the qualities the Colts seek in their locker room. They value fearless, selfless leaders who prioritize team success over personal accolades. Buckner’s loyalty and dedication are infectious, contributing to the team’s winning culture.

“For me personally, loyalty is paramount,” Buckner remarked. “I came here to fulfill a role assigned by Chris Ballard and the Irsay family. My mindset was to execute it to the best of my ability, and my work here isn’t finished yet.”

Despite facing challenges during his time with the Colts, including a playoff appearance followed by setbacks, coaching changes, and near misses, Buckner has remained steadfast in his commitment to the team. He has never wavered or expressed a desire to leave. Witnessing the team’s resilience and progress in 2023 further solidified Buckner’s confidence in the Colts’ trajectory.

“I can see the team’s trajectory,” Buckner admitted. “Sometimes, the allure of other opportunities may not match reality. I could have made a mistake by seeking a trade and ending up somewhere else, while the Colts are realizing their potential. I might have found myself starting over elsewhere.”

Buckner recognizes that the Colts are not starting from scratch but are instead a young, ascending team poised for success. He believes in Ballard’s team-building approach and Steichen’s vision for reaching the pinnacle. Such unwavering support from one of the team’s top players is invaluable, and Steichen is thrilled to have Buckner committed for the long term.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him,” Steichen said of Buckner. “He epitomizes professionalism. Everything he does, he does with purpose and urgency. His dedication to his craft, both on and off the field, is evident week in and week out. Having him secured for the next few years is a huge asset for our franchise.”


While discussing the Colts’ positive trajectory may sound encouraging, it doesn’t carry significant weight in the broader context. What truly matters is the Colts’ ability to overcome obstacles and compete at the highest level in the AFC. Despite coming close last season, their loss to the Houston Texans in Week 18 highlighted that there’s still room for improvement.

Ultimately, on-field results will be the ultimate judge. However, Buckner believes the Colts have the necessary talent to make a push. Players like Pittman and Jonathan Taylor have evolved into playmakers, while emerging talents like Anthony Richardson and Josh Downs show promise. The combination of developing players and seasoned veterans could propel the Colts to new heights.

“When I arrived, many key players were young,” Buckner explained. “Chris has invested in our roster, demonstrating his confidence in us. Now, those once-young players are seasoned veterans, and it’s time for all of us to take the next step. We need to surpass obstacles and secure a spot in the playoffs, elevating this team to new levels.”

If the Colts achieve new heights in 2024, Buckner will likely play a significant role in turning aspirations into reality. Despite recently turning 30, the Pro Bowler shows no signs of slowing down. With a new contract, Buckner is further motivated to validate the Colts’ decision to retain him.

“They’ve acknowledged my contributions and leadership by rewarding me,” Buckner acknowledged. “I aim to continue demonstrating my commitment because they’ve shown theirs to me.”

Buckner has consistently delivered for the Colts and their fans over the past four years, and there’s a good chance the success will continue. If Buckner has his way, the rewards will extend beyond individual accolades to postseason achievements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *