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Pittman looks forward to growing with Colts, Richardson

Mar. 13—INDIANAPOLIS — Michael Pittman Jr. has been the model of consistency on the field for the Indianapolis Colts.

After officially signing a three-year contract reportedly worth up to $71.5 million Wednesday, the team is paying him back.

In addition to the financial compensation, Indianapolis hopes it has halted the quarterback carousel that has seen Pittman play with seven different starters during his four-year career.

Though he's recovering from a shoulder injury that cost him the final 12 games of the 2023 season, Anthony Richardson is in line to become the first quarterback to start consecutive season openers for the Colts since Andrew Luck in 2014-15.

"I mean, just having that relationship prior, just being able to come into camp and be like, 'You know what type of player I am, and I know what type of player you are,'" Pittman said of the benefits of forging a bond with the young franchise QB. "You kind of get a feel for each other's strengths, and you can strengthen that. That's what I'm most looking forward to."

The 26-year-old wide receiver sees the contract extension as a sign of the organization's belief in him, and he's excited to ramp up his partnership with Richardson.

"I think we're just going to open it up," Pittman said. "With AR coming back, we get a guy we've had for two years straight, and we're really going to see what he can do — all of his talent. I'm just looking forward to accenting him and making him the best player that he can be and him making me the best player that I can be."

Even with Richardson sidelined for all but four games, Pittman set career highs last season with 109 catches and 1,152 receiving yards.

In his four seasons with the Colts, Pittman has 336 receptions for 3,662 yards and 15 touchdowns. But those are just numbers.

It's harder to quantify Pittman's impact as a bruising blocker in the run game and as a locker-room leader.

"We love everything about Pitt," Indianapolis head coach Shane Steichen said. "You know what you're going to get every week — an ultimate competitor, a playmaker and a leader in the locker room. He gives this team the same passion and energy on the practice field and in the meeting rooms on a consistent basis.

"I'm excited Pitt will continue to play a significant role in our offense, and I'm very happy for him and his family."

Pittman was joined by his wife, Kianna, during his media availability, with both wearing smartly tailored suits.

It was a business-like approach that honored the importance of family to Pittman on a day he described as a dream come true.

"Yeah, I mean obviously it's great being (re-)signed by the team that drafted you," Pittman said. "I think that's every player's dream is to stay with the same team their whole time playing. I still have a long time left in my head. Hopefully, I can do it again in three years."

It's a sentiment shared by the organization.

Drafted in the second round in 2020, Pittman has developed into one of the team's most physically and mentally tough players.

The competitive fire that permeates his every action has endeared him to general manager Chris Ballard among others.

"Signing Michael Pittman Jr. to a long-term contract was the goal, and I'm thankful for his agent, Andrew Kessler, in helping to get a deal done," Ballard said. "Pitt is a fierce competitor, and he cares deeply about winning. He wants to be a difference maker, and he's going to give you everything he's got on Sundays to accomplish that.

"We want the work ethic and attitude Pitt brings in all of our players. He absolutely deserves this deal, and I'm thrilled he's going to remain a Colt."

Pittman is one of eight players who have had their contracts extended since the legal negotiating period began Monday.

He never had the chance to look at the open market. The Colts placed the franchise tag on him before talks with outside teams were allowed.

But it's clear Pittman is happy with the outcome of his first free-agent experience.

"When I think back, all of my greatest life moments have been here whether it's getting married — I got married here," Pittman said. "I had both of my kids here. I bought my first house here. I just have a lot of major life moments just tied here. It's great that I can call this place home."