The newest Indianapolis Colts linebacker, D'Qwell Jackson, says the presence of his former Cleveland Browns coach helped solidify his free-agency decision.
Jackson, 30, agreed to a four-year, $22-million deal with the Colts after eight years in Cleveland, where he played for Colts new assistant Rob Chudzinski. The Colts are allowed to sign Jackson before the official start of free agency next week because Jackson was released by the Browns.
"Once I became a free agent, (Chudzinski) was one of the first calls I personally made," Jackson said in a conference call today. "He's a big part of me being here today. I thought highly of him last year when he was head coach at Cleveland."
Chudzinski's approach with players last season was a major selling point as Jackson reportedly turned down more money offered from teams such as Denver and Tennessee.
"He's an innovative guy and there were a lot of thing he did last year in terms of helping guys, doing extra things outside of football, off the field, to help guys be the best football player possible," Jackson said. "What attracted me the most is they have a family atmosphere (in Indianapolis). Everyone I spoke to, that was a common thread."
Jackson said he was also swayed by a sit-down dinner with Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who talked with him about many topics outside of football.
The prospect of joining a franchise "on the rise," with a young, talented quarterback in Andrew Luck, was also a drawing card, Jackson said.
"If you've been in this game long enough, you know if you don't have a guy under center, it's hard to be a place of stability, let alone win games," Jackson said.
The 6-foot, 240-pound Jackson 96 of 97 games with the Browns since being taken in the second-round out of the University of Maryland in 2006. He has six 100-tackle seasons and led the Browns in five seasons. Jackson started all 16 games last season and led the team with 143 tackles, including 92 solo tackles.
Jackson said he feels another former Browns player, Colts running back Trent Richardson, is on a "natural progression" to be come a quality player.
Jackson joked that he's going to ask Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis about how he's found the fountain of youth.
"I'm looking forward to picking his brain in that regard," Jackson said. "He's been a heck of a player for long time and he's getting better with age."
Colts cut Satele, act on other free agents
The Colts announced they have released center Samson Satele. They also have made an exclusive rights tender to outside linebacker Cam Johnson and qualifying offers to restricted free agents cornerback Josh Gordy and guard Joe Reitz.
Satele was signed as a free agent two years ago, but has been part of an offensive line many observers feel needs to be upgraded.