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Joe Flacco 'definitely grateful' to have spot with Colts, 'little bit' surprised he's not back with Browns

Joe Flacco's NFL journey took a fairly surprising couple of turns in the last six months.

First, he was on a flight to Cleveland, where he'd go from couch-dwelling veteran to the white-hot leader of a Browns team that reached the playoffs. Then, he was back on the couch, this time in an offseason brought about by a blowout loss to Houston on Super Wild Card Weekend.

Now, he's in Indianapolis, where he'll back up second-year passer Anthony Richardson. Despite winning Associated Press NFL Comeback Player of the Year, this was the best opportunity he could draw.

It still beats sitting on the couch.

"It was obviously a little bit different than last offseason, when I didn't get any calls at all," Flacco, 39, explained of his free agency which led to his signing with the Colts being officially announced Friday. "But even this offseason, I wasn't really sure how it was going to go. It wasn't like I played a ton of games last year or anything like that, but definitely grateful for Indy to reach out and have this as an opportunity."

Above all, Flacco wanted another chance to play football. He'd rediscovered his love for the game during his time with the Browns while also proving he can still sling it.

After being forced to ride with Gardner Minshew -- who moved on to the Raiders on a two-year, $25 million deal -- for most of 2023, the Colts understood the importance of a reliable backup. And they liked what they saw in Flacco.

Flacco's decision to sign with Indianapolis included the general concession he wouldn't have a chance to compete for a starting job in 2024. But as he found in 2023, that doesn't mean he won't see the field at some point.

Ideally, Indianapolis never needs Flacco to take the field unless it's in garbage time of a blowout win. He'll still offer value, though, with what he can share with Richardson.

"Listen, I've kind of been in this role for a handful of years now," Flacco, who's entering his 17th season, said of backing up Richardson. "Obviously, last year was a little bit different cause I wasn't anywhere, I was able to come in and play pretty quickly. But yeah, it's just about being in the room with him and a lot of conversations naturally come up when you spend so much time together in a row. It's just kind of I think being able to bring the experience and being able to help him simplify things and go out there and play fast and use his skillset the way he wants to."

Flacco said he was a "little bit" surprised he didn't land back in Cleveland, where he'd said he'd have loved to return after a dreamlike run with the Browns. Everyone can admit, though, that Flacco didn't quite fit the archetype the Browns sought at quarterback. He was an emergency stopgap who ended up plugging the entirety of Cleveland's cracked dam long enough to reach the postseason.

Now, he's just glad he can still find employment in the NFL, especially after he received nothing but radio silence at this time last year. Whatever comes of it, Flacco is ready to embrace.

"When you have something that you love to do and you enjoy putting in the work and all that, I don't know too many people that would give that up to try to go do something else or figure out what else that may be," Flacco said. "I have no idea what else that would be. One day we'll figure that out. But I'm not really ready to kind of go figure out what else that may be that I love to do, especially when I'm gonna be given an opportunity to still do what I love to do. Having five kids at home also kind of pushes me in the direction of coming back here and doing those things, I'm sure."

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