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Indystar.com say’s Negotiations between Brackett, Colts continue

Negotiations between linebacker Gary Brackett and the Indianapolis Coltscontinued late into Thursday night with the possibility that a new contract will be announced Friday, a source familiar with the situation said.

Brackett will become an unrestricted free agent and be able to sign with any team unless the Colts sign him by 12:01 a.m. Friday.Whatever the resolution of Brackett’s talks, the Colts apparently have said goodbye to another defensive stalwart.

“The superbowl was the last time ull see me in a colts uniform?” defensive lineman Raheem Brock tweeted on twitter.com late Thursday afternoon. “It’s been real indy.”

Brock’s agent, Kevin Pompey, hadn’t spoken with his client, but he knew the player had a meeting with Colts president Bill Polian on Thursday afternoon. The Colts have made no announcement.

Brock was under contract through the 2010 season. He was due to make $3.79 million.

Brackett, meanwhile, was to become an unrestricted free agent today and be able to sign with any team unless the Colts were able to work out contract details.

There also was activity among the Colts’ restricted free agents, with second-round tenders placed on left tackle Charlie Johnson, safety Melvin Bullitt and defensive tackles Daniel Muir and Antonio Johnson.

Those players are now free to negotiate with and sign offer sheets from other teams. The Colts then would have seven days to match an offer. If they declined to, the team making the offer must compensate the Colts with its second-round draft.

In the case of safety Antoine Bethea, on whom the Colts placed a first-round tender Wednesday, the compensatory pick would be a first-rounder.

The Colts did not plan to tender nine other restricted free agents. Cornerbacks Marlin Jackson, T.J. Rushing and Tim Jennings, linebackers Tyjuan Hagler and Freddy Keiaho, offensive linemen Dan Federkeil and Michael Toudouze, safety Aaron Francisco and wide receiver Hank Baskett were set to become unrestricted free agents toat 12:01 Friday.

Jackson was a standout until the past two seasons, when he tore anterior cruciate ligaments in his knees during practice each of the past two seasons.

Colts fans haven’t necessarily seen the last of of those players. The Colts didn’t tender linebackers Hagler or Keiaho last year, but were able re-sign both in April.Brackett signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent from Rutgers in 2003. He became their starter at middle linebacker in 2005 and their defensive captain in 2007.

The Colts have not typically paid top dollar to keep their linebackers. Mike Peterson, Marcus Washington, David Thornton and Cato June have left as free agents since 2003.

But Colts owner Jim Irsay made it clear last week that Brackett was different. Irsay said he was willing to make a financial commitment to Brackett that was “competitive with some of the top-notch guys at his position.”

The Colts usually have signed any player they so targeted.

The NFL’s highest-paid middle linebackers include Chicago’s Brian Urlacher, who has who’s working with a five-year, $47.2.million contract and the New York Jets’ Bart Scott (six years, $48.million).

Brackett just completed a four-year, $10.1 million contract that included $3.5 million in bonuses.

Brock is an eight-year veteran who started 104 of the 120 games he played for the Colts.

He originally was a 2002 seventh-round draft choice of his hometown Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles didn’t have sufficient money in their rookie pool to sign him so they relinquished his rights and he signed as a free agent with the Colts.

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