INDIANAPOLIS – It apparently took last-second intervention to keep T.Y. Hilton from taking the money and running to Baltimore.
The Indianapolis Colts veteran receiver was that close to being a Raven.
Five seconds away.
Hilton agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract Wednesday to remain with the team that drafted him in 2012, but only after the Ravens made a hard final push and only after Colts owner Jim Irsay stepped in and stepped up the team’s financial commitment.
Hilton laid it all out during a Thursday appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. He mentioned one of his tweets Wednesday afternoon loaded with eager eyes.
It wasn’t an indication he was about to re-up with the Colts. He was about to become a Raven.
“That was the (tweet) that I was almost gone,’’ Hilton told McAfee with a hearty laugh. “Five seconds away, man. That was it.
“I’ve been talking to (the Ravens) the whole time. They came in and made a great push at the end and they wanted to get it done.’’
Baltimore’s desire to close the deal was evidenced by the size of its offer.
Hilton insisted he “would have made more money the day I signed (with the Ravens) than my whole contract with Indy.’’
That in mind, how did his return to the Colts materialize?
Prayer, and Irsay.
“I’m a big believe in God,’’ Hilton said, “so I prayed a lot. My main thing was just be patient.’’
However, his patience was wearing thin Wednesday. The NFL’s veteran free agency was just two weeks old, but Hilton wanted his first venture into the open market to end.
“I asked God to show me signs of what I should do,’’ he said.
Then, Hilton offered a blow-by-blow of how everything unfolded Wednesday afternoon. On one front, his agents – Jason and Michael Katz – were closing in on a multi-year deal with Ravens.
Hilton, meanwhile, still was trying to make it work with the Colts.
“True story, no bull,’’ Hilton said. “So I prayed about it about 12 o’clock. I signed at what, 3? I’ve been texting Chris Ballard the while time. By 2:30, I’m like, ‘By 3 o’clock I’m signing somewhere. Wherever it’s at, I’m signing.’
“Then 2:55 I got off the phone with Chris and I’m like, ‘Are we going to get this thing done? How can we get this done?’’’
Ballard gave Hilton the team’s latest offer, which was insufficient.
“I’m like, ‘It’s all right. I guess it’s good for me to go to this next team,’’’ Hilton explained. “As soon as I close his message, Irsay texted me.’’
That was the sign Hilton needed.
“When he texted me, that’s when we got it done,’’ he said. “It was awesome, man. It just (told) me it was a great deal, ‘Hope we can get it done.’ I told him the number that I wanted and they got it right then and there, and the deal got done.’’
The beat-the-clock texting kept a franchise cornerstone from departing.
Throughout the free-agency process, Hilton leaned on a former teammate and long-time friend. Reggie Wayne helped Hilton’s transition from Florida International standout to the NFL, and the lines of communication always are open.
“For me, I was just very patient through the whole thing,’’ Hilton said. “The one person I’ve got to give a lot of credit to is Reggie Wayne. I call him 87. He helped me out a lot. He answered the phone when I needed him, was a big help all the way through this whole thing.
“I’d give anything for him. He’s a real big brother to me. I love him to death. For him to be there every step of the way with me all the way till I signed, it was just incredible.’’
Hilton also has kept in contact Andrew Luck, and the two connected shortly after Hilton agreed to his new deal with the Colts.
“Absolutely,’’ Hilton said. “He’s very happy. He texted me, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ I told him the money I turned down and he said, ‘Wow, dude, that’s awesome.'”
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.