It’s rare that an athlete knows when to say goodbye. Most hang on too long, taking the requisite physical beating that comes with life in the NFL, leaving only when they are forced out by their teams or by career-ending injuries.

So it is nice, then, that Jeff Saturday, who will become a Colt Thursday and retire a Colt Thursday, went out on his terms. Saturday, who was the consummate Colt on and off the field for 13 years, gets to leave the game of his own volition, with his head and his body still very much intact.

“I just didn’t enjoy it as much, and that’s when I knew,” Saturday said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I always told my wife, ‘Look, when it’s not fun, that’s when I’m going to know it’s time.’ I just wasn’t as energetic about it.

“And my toe was hurting. Other parts of my body were hurting. I’ve been so fortunate in my career with my body and injuries, I didn’t want to end up hurting myself further and end up leaving the game broken down and hurting more than you might hurt naturally from playing a long time in the league. I’m totally at peace with the decision. I think it’s the perfect time. I never would have foreseen going out in this great a fashion. For a center, it just doesn’t happen like this.”