It was January, the last day of the season. The Colts locker room was almost empty, as most of the players had cleaned out their stuff and left. As I took one final sweep through, I found Matt Overton at the back of the locker room gazing into his empty locker. He took his fist and knocked each wall before turning to walk away.
“Hey,” he said, slightly surprised to see me.
“It’s not over, is it?” I asked.
“Nah,” he replied and gave me a hug.
Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if he knew something I didn’t.
Looking back now, he did – that football is a business and there are no guarantees, that any day can be your last, and that you have to cherish every moment because you never know if you’ll get it back.
Overton’s road to the NFL was long and winding, going through the UFL (twice) the Seattle Seahawks (twice), and the Houston Texans before landing in Indianapolis. A member of the Fourth Down Army, he went to work alongside Adam Vinatieri and Pat McAfee, becoming a fan favorite, making the Pro Bowl, and growing into one of the best long snappers in the league.
The only thing more inspiring than watching him live his dream was watching him live his life.
Since arriving in Indianapolis in 2012, Overton embraced the team, the city, and the fans. When he wasn’t out in the community with the Colts, he was out in the community on his own – doing ride-alongs with IMPD, showing up at dance marathons, visiting cancer patients, and spending time with kids. He was truly “for the kids” from Riley Hospital, bringing them to games, taking them to concerts, escorting them to prom, and making them part of his family. And in the process, he became part of theirs.
He made Indianapolis his home and became a Hoosier – a better Hoosier than most Hoosiers, even though he’s from the West Coast. He bought a house, built a business, and his love for Indiana shined with everything he did.
Matt Overton packed up his locker for good today. This time, I wasn’t there to see it. He’s determined to play football somewhere and I hope he gets his wish.
As hard as it is to say goodbye, I know it’s not really goodbye. Matt Overton will always be part of Indianapolis, just like Indianapolis will always be part of him.
Thank you, Matt, for being the guy we could always count on – on the field and off, for giving of yourself in so many ways, and for inspiring us to do more, give more, and be more.
We wish you nothing but the best because that’s what you are – the best. And that’s how we’ll always remember you.
We’ll miss you on Community Tuesday, on game day, and every day.
But we’ll always have your back and we’ll be cheering you on wherever life takes you.