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Colts DT DeForest Buckner on prospect of rebuilding in 2023: 'I hate that word'

The Indianapolis Colts have a new head coach, are presumed to be breaking in a rookie quarterback after the draft and have let several veterans go this offseason, including trading corner Stephon Gilmore.

Most viewers see Indy as a rebuilding club, but don't tell that to the Colts' star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

"I hate that word," Buckner said, via the Indy Star. "My rookie year in San Francisco, we went 2-14, the coach got fired, we brought in Kyle (Shanahan) and the majority of the roster was gone. Brought in new guys, and it took a couple of years. … We were building a team, a culture and all of that, but I was a young player, so I was able to grind through those tough years. … As you get older, rebuild's definitely not a word you want to hear."

Despite the prospect of grinding it out in Indy in 2023, Buckner said he doesn't want to be traded -- a move that is unlikely after the Colts restructured his contract this offseason.

"There were never any talks about me being traded, being released or any of that," Buckner said of a false rumor this offseason. "People like to make headlines, clickbait and all that kind of stuff. … I just thought it was funny."

The 29-year-old remains one of the best interior defenders in the NFL, capable of bewildering offense by barging into the backfield. If the Colts are to make a swift turnaround following their 4-12-1 season, the likes of Buckner will lead the way. If, however, Indy struggles, sides could look to part ways -- via trade or release -- in 2024. There is no guaranteed money left on Buckner's deal in 2024.

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