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NFL: OCT 16 Jaguars at Colts

INDIANAPOLISIt turned out to be one of the more important free agent signings for the Colts last season.

Rodney McLeod has proven throughout his decade-long run in the NFL to be a pro.

And the Colts experienced that last season.

McLeod came to Indianapolis having started 138 career games, including being a full-time starter for the previous 9 seasons.

Yet, McLeod did not have a locked-in starting job when he joined the Colts.

It was a starting competition between McLeod and 20-year-old rookie Nick Cross.

And that was won by Cross exiting training camp.

The rookie was the Week 1 and 2 starter, but the staff had early-season issues with Cross that led to a change.

McLeod took over in Week 3 and started the final 15 games of the season. In playing 1,031 snaps last year, McLeod finished 3rd among Colts defenders in playing time.

As McLeod hits free agency for a second straight year, the Colts will have to make some internal decisions on their youth at safety.

Julian Blackmon has one more year left on his rookie deal. Rodney Thomas II showed a lot of early promise as a rookie. And Cross is entering his second season.

But is the need there for the 32-year-old McLeod to return to Indianapolis?