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Looking for a reason to root for Atlanta on Sunday? How about for Dwight Freeney?

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Posted at 1:33 PM, Feb 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-03 21:21:02-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Most football fans in Indianapolis have two favorite teams: the Indianapolis Colts, and the team playing against the New England Patriots. Indianapolis fans have another reason to root for the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday -- Dwight Freeney.

Ten years and one day after winning a Super Bowl with the Colts, Freeney has an opportunity to win another one.

It may not feel like it, but it's been four years since Freeney wore a Colts uniform. His last game with the team was in 2012. Since then, he's been with the San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, and now the Falcons.

“It's been great,” Freeney said to ESPN in January. “It's been an absolutely amazing situation."

Freeney is a few days shy of his 37th birthday, so he's obviously not the pass-rushing tour de force he once was, but he's only a year removed from leading the Cardinals with eight sacks in 2015.

This season, he played in about one-third of the Falcons' snaps, mostly as a rotational pass rusher. He was tied for third on the team in sacks with three.

It's impossible to not rank him high among the best pass rushers ever. He's 18th all-time in career sacks. In a perfectly poetic moment, just half a sack separates Freeney and his sacking partner, Robert Mathis. 

If you can stomach to remember back to 2004 when the Colts were in their prime, Freeney led the NFL in sacks at age 24. This season, he took on a mentorship role with the Falcons, especially helping young pass rusher Vic Beasley. Beasley led the NFL in sacks this season, at age 24.

It's hard to imagine the former Colts great returning to the NFL for a 16th season, but he told ESPN last month he's in no rush to decide his future. 

“I've been taking it a year at a time since Year 12,” he said. “When I left Indy (after the 2012 season), I was going to retire. Before I left Indy, I was like, 'This is going to be my last year if they re-sign me,' and they didn't re-sign me. So that gave me something to play for."

He hasn't had any sacks in this year's playoffs so far, but we can dream for Sunday, right? 

After all, wouldn't it be great to see No. 93 spin around an offensive lineman and sack Tom Brady at least one more time?