Feb. 8—INDIANAPOLIS — Dwight Freeney has achieved football immortality.
A star edge rusher for 11 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and 16 NFL seasons overall, Freeney was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday night in his first year of eligibility.
Freeney joins linebacker Randy Gradishar, punt returner/kick returner Devin Hester, wide receiver Andre Johnson, defensive tackle Steve McMichael, defensive end Julius Peppers and linebacker Patrick Willis in the Class of 2024.
"Dwight built himself into one of the game's most feared pass rushers with his trademark spin move," Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay said in a team release. "He provided Colts fans with many thrilling moments as one of pro football's all-time greats, and he truly deserves this honor."
Freeney will become the third defensive lineman in franchise history to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, joining Art Donovan (1968) and Gino Marchetti (1972) — who both played during the Baltimore era.
The 11th overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft out of Syracuse, Freeney recorded 107.5 sacks, 113 tackles for loss and 112 quarterback hits during his time in Indianapolis. Freeney led the NFL with 16 sacks in 2004 and had seven double-digit sack seasons with the Colts.
He was the runner-up for Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2002, and finished in the top three of Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2004 and 2005. Freeney was a three-time first-team All Pro and was named to seven Pro Bowls with Indianapolis.
Freeney won the Super Bowl with the Colts following the 2006 season and returned to the big game with Indianapolis in 2009.
His career with the Colts ended after the 2012 season, and he finished his career with two seasons on the San Diego Chargers, one each on the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons and played his final season in 2017 for the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks.
Freeney made a third Super Bowl appearance with the Falcons following the 2016 season and finished his career with 125.5 sacks, 128 tackles for loss, 148 quarterback hits and 47 forced fumbles.
Colts wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne again fell short of induction, after becoming a semifinalist for the fifth time.