Colts Signal T.Y. Hilton’s Future With New Public Display

T.Y. Hilton

Getty The Indianapolis Colts revealed what they're planning for T.Y. Hilton's future in a public display.

The rumors that veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton might still return to the Indianapolis Colts can officially come to an end.

The Colts have issued a public goodbye of sorts to Hilton. The team has hung a banner outside Lucas Oil Stadium with a picture of Hilton that reads, “Thank You For the Memories!”

On September 14, Colts reporter Mike Chappell of FOX and CBS Sports posted a picture of the banner on his Twitter feed.

NFL staff writer Zak Keefer of The Athletic inferred exactly what most fans will from the picture. Keefer subtweeted the photo of the banner on September 14 with the caption, “Colts bid farewell to a franchise great.”

Colts GM Chris Ballard Likes Team’s Current Wide Receivers

The banner cannot be too surprising. While Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard expressed some interest in signing Hilton early during the offseason, in a press conference on August 31, Ballard indicated that the team didn’t have any plans to re-sign the 32-year-old receiver.

“Do I think T.Y. [Hilton] can still play? Absolutely I do. … But right now, I like our group, and we like our group,” said Ballard.

The one question some Colts fans may have asked on September 11 was whether Ballard still felt the same way about the team’s receivers following the first game. Michael Pittman Jr. shined with 9 catches, 121 receiving yards and a touchdown. But the team’s next leading receiver was running back Nyheim Hines with 50 yards.

Other than Pittman, no Colts receiver had 4 catches in Week 1 against the Houston Texans.

The other Indianapolis wideouts combine to nearly match Pittman’s production — 8 receptions and 119 yards. Ashton Dulin, Parris Campbell and Mike Strachan each posted at least 2 catches and 36 receiving yards.

The Colts are hoping one of those receivers, along with rookie Alec Pierce, will emerge as the No. 2 receiving threat behind Pittman. Pierce did not catch either of his 2 targets in his NFL debut.

Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich said on September 14 that Pierce experienced mild concussion-like symptoms hours after the Week 1 matchup and is in the concussion protocol. His status is unknown for the September 18 showdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But if Pierce can’t go or the Colts receiver group sustains any other injuries this season, one has to figure after the public goodbye, the Colts will not be looking at Hilton as a possible replacement.

Hilton recorded 23 catches for 331 yards and 3 touchdowns in 10 games last season.

Hilton’s Legacy With Colts

Even if Hilton never plays for the Colts again, his legacy in team history is secure. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison and 6-time Pro Bowler Reggie Wayne have more receptions and receiving yards than Hilton in Colts history. Hilton is also ranked fourth all time for the team with 53 touchdown catches.

Hilton burst onto the scene as a rookie with Andrew Luck, registering 50 receptions, 861 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2012. In 2013, Hilton started a streak that saw him reach more than 1,000 receiving yards in 5 of the next 6 seasons.

In 2016, he led the NFL with 1,448 receiving yards. He also had 91 receptions and 6 touchdowns during that campaign.

Hilton made the Pro Bowl 4 years in a row from 2014-16. Despite his speed being his top asset and his role in the Indianapolis offense diminishing, he continued to average 13.8 yards per reception after turning 30.

It will be interesting to see if any other NFL team makes Hilton a mid-season acquisition. Hilton is one of several veteran wideouts who remain unsigned after Week 1.

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