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Colts apparently locked in on Luck as central rebuilding part

CBSSports.com wire reports
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts will soon get a more thorough look at Andrew Luck.

They won't have the same opportunity with Robert Griffin III.

General manager Ryan Grigson said Monday the Colts plan to bring Luck to Indianapolis for an individual workout during the next couple of weeks. Luck is widely expected to be the No. 1 pick in next month's draft. Griffin is expected to go second, but Grigson said the Colts wouldn't see the Heisman Trophy winner work out at the team complex.

"Circumstances didn't allow us to do anything private with him (Griffin) so we did the usual pro day," Grigson said during a conference call. "We did the best we could with that situation. We do have a private workout that we're scheduling with Andrew in the future."

Grigson was ill last week and could not attend Griffin's workout in Waco, Texas, or Luck's workout in Palo Alto, Calif., though there were Colts representatives in both places.

Team owner Jim Irsay has already said he plans to take Peyton Manning's successor with the No. 1 pick, but nobody within the organization is saying whether they'll take the consensus favorite, Luck, or the fast riser, Griffin.

Luck is considered the most polished quarterback to come out of college since Manning was taken No. 1 overall by the Colts in 1998.

"Obviously you want to go No. 1, who wouldn't want to go No. 1?" Luck said after last week's Pro Day workout. "I'm just trying to prepare myself for the NFL, whichever team that is. Whether it's watching certain defenses or going out there and working on throws I've never done before. That's been my focus and it hasn't been hard to stay on that path."

Without the 35-year-old Manning, the Colts collapsed last season. They went a league-worst 2-14, and have embarked on an ambitious rebuilding project -- one that no longer includes Manning.

Indy released its franchise quarterback March 7, and last week the four-time league MVP signed a new five-year deal with the Denver Broncos.

But Grigson insisted Monday that the team has not decided who to take and would likely wait until after the first round is completed April 26 before negotiating a deal with the top pick.

"We're going to do it the old-fashioned way, and that's not something that's been discussed at this point about how we would go about that," Grigson said. "I think we'll do it like teams always have and keep it simple."

Clearly, this is a team in transition.

In addition to releasing Manning, the Colts made a series of cost-cutting moves by releasing defensive captains Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt and former Pro Bowlers Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai earlier this month. They also have lost longtime center Jeff Saturday to Green Bay, emerging receiver Pierre Garcon to Washington and backup tight end Jacob Tamme to Denver in free agency.

There was even speculation that the Colts may try to save more money by trading perennial Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney, who will count $19 million against the salary cap this season. Grigson denied those rumors.

"There's never been any substance that would suggest we're doing anything like that. He's a Colt, period," Grigson said.

"Everything with Dwight is great. He's going to be here this year," Grigson added. "We expect him to be a major contributor and a guy who strikes fear in our opponents and those offensive linemen every week."

The Colts haven't completely gutted the roster.

They did re-sign receiver Reggie Wayne to a three-year deal, and Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis to a four-year deal. Mathis and Freeney have been one of the league's most feared pass-rushing tandems since 2004.

New coach Chuck Pagano has called them "game-wreckers" and is still contemplating how best to use the two as he tries to switch from the Colts' trademark Tampa 2 scheme to Pagano's favored 3-4 system.

Grigson's biggest concern has been putting together an offensive unit in which the new quarterback -- Luck or Grigson -- can thrive.

The Colts have stockpiled talent along the offensive line by trading for Winston Justice and signing free agents Mike McGlynn and Samson Satele. They also signed free agent receiver Donnie Avery, a speedster who could give them a major deep threat if he's healthy.

"He's always been a fast guy," Grigson said of Avery. "He's had considerable production early on in his career and, of course, he as well as we, hope he gets back to that level. We sure hope he does and I know he does. It's a nice get for us based on what he brings to the table and what he can help in this offense with much needed wrinkle of speed."

But the biggest question going forward is the one Grigson doesn't want to answer.

"I really go through this thing methodically and I watch a ton of tape. We take every bit of information that we gather with our own two eyes and (take) everything into account," Grigson said when asked about the evaluations. "We're going to use this process every minute up until the time we're on the clock."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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