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OT Johnson and Safety Bullitt Both Want to Stay with the Colts

Whenever the NFL and NFL Players Association agree on a new collective bargaining, players with four or more accrued seasons who do not have a signed contract are expected to become unrestricted free agents.

Two such players — offensive tackle Charlie Johnson and safety Melvin Bullitt — will be able to test the market, but both hope to remain with the Colts, reports Phillip Wilson of the Indianapolis Star.

“It’s not just for me, but any player who starts out with a team and is with them for four, five or six years, you want to stay to have that continuity. Especially in Indianapolis, where we’ve won 10 games for nine years, why wouldn’t you want to stay in that situation?,” asked Johnson, a 2006 sixth-round pick out of Oklahoma State who has started 54 games over the last five seasons.

“I would like to be here. I like winning 10 games a year. I like going to Super Bowls. I want to win football games and get back to the Super Bowl. Whatever it is that I need to do to accomplish that, I’ll do it. There’s no ego with me.”

The Colts used their first-round pick on Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, who is expected to replace Johnson at left tackle. Villanova offensive tackle Ben Ijalana was taken in the second round, though he’s projected to play guard at the next level.

32-year-old right tackle Ryan Diem is entering the final year of his contract, and releasing him would free up $5.4 million in cap room. The 27-year-old Johnson would be a younger option who would provide versatility to move over to the right side if Castonzo isn’t ready to start due to the lockout.

Bullitt missed most of 2010 with a shoulder injury, but re-signing the 6-foot-1, 201-pounder from Texas A&M may be a high priority after the club released Bob Sanders in February for financial reasons. (Sanders signed a one-year deal with the San Diego Chargers)

After totaling a career-high 77 tackles while starting 12 of 14 games in 2009, the former undrafted free agent was tendered at the “Second Round” level in 2010, earning $1.684 million in base salary. Bullitt says he’s healthy and the strongest he’s been in two years.

“I want to finish my career in Indianapolis, but I will have to make a decision quickly,” Bullitt said.

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One Response to “OT Johnson and Safety Bullitt Both Want to Stay with the Colts”

  1. Eric Butz says:

    Great article…always love Matt Loede’s stuff!…Peyton Manning needs his O-Line! They’ve also had difficulty running the ball and letting 2 veterans go who understand the Colts schemes seems like it would be a big mistake….I don’t believe the Colts have a lot of clock!

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