Irsay: We'll pick QB No. 1

The Sports Xchange

--Colts owner Jim Irsay said the Colts will use the first pick to draft a quarterback no matter the state of Peyton Manning's health.

"With (Robert) Griffin and (Andrew) Luck and the way it's shaping up at the top of the draft, (it) could very likely go one and two like with Peyton and Ryan Leaf (1998)," Irsay said.

--Owner Jim Irsay on decision between QBs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III for No. 1 pick: "It's most likely one of those quarterbacks that you really feel is the best player in the draft. And where we're at moving forward you can't pass that up. I don't think anyone would expect that."

--Jim Irsay invited fans via Twitter to predict Indy's next head coach for a chance to win Super Bowl tickets. Fans had one guess only and had to follow Irsay via Twitter to participate. The team is expected to announce a new coach by the end of the week.

--Former Colts coach Tony Dungy said he does not want to coach the Colts again or coach any team for that matter. "I had a great job when I was here," Dungy said recently. "But when I left, I left to do some other things. I don't see coming back in my future."

Dungy said he talked to team owner Jim Irsay about potential coaching candidates for the Colts. But Dungy did not want to divulge those names. He also talked with his friend and former assistant Jim Caldwell after the Colts fired him.

"It's going to be tough to get a coach better than (former Dungy assistant) Jim Caldwell (who was fired Tuesday)," Dungy said. "Going to the playoffs and the Super Bowl is not that easy. I wish them the best in the search."

--LB Pat Angerer underwent bursa sac surgery on his right knee last week. Angerer hurt his right knee on the first play of the New England game on Dec. 4. He played in the Colts' final four games of the season with a sore knee. Angerer had the bursa sac removed in what he termed as a "routine procedure."

--The Colts signed LB Mario Harvey to a reserve/future contract. Harvey, who played collegiately at Marshall, was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Pittsburgh. He was released prior to the start of the regular season.

--Colts DE Robert Mathis will forego an appearance in Sunday's Pro Bowl to remain with his fiancee Brandi and the couple's twin boys, Robert Nathan and Nathan Robert. Mathis, who had a team-high 9 1/2 sacks, was named a first alternate behind Indy teammate Dwight Freeney and New England's Andre Carter.

Mathis was named to replace Carter, who is injured, in the Pro Bowl but then declined the invitation after the Jan. 9 arrival of his twin sons. Freeney will be the Colts' only representative in the game.

--Center Jeff Saturday's reaction to the firing of Jim Caldwell: "I can't say I'm shocked, but I am sad because for the past (10) or so years, he's not only been my coach but my friend. I know his family, so we're connected beyond football. My prayers are with him and his family. This game can be hard when times go bad, and that's the situation we're in."

Saturday on his future with the Colts and the NFL, as one of 22 free agents for Indianapolis this offseason: "I have my own decision to make long before I worry (about) what the Colts are going to do (about a new head coach)," he said. "I'm considering not playing."

--CB Jerraud Powers on losing Caldwell as the Colts' head coach: "He was a good coach, good guy, he taught me a lot and gave me a chance to be a part of the Colts by drafting me. We went to a Super Bowl together."

--DE Robert Mathis on Jim Caldwell: "He was a great guy, but I just think his hands were tied, to be honest with you. He didn't have the flexibility to do all that he wanted to do. However you want to take it, that's just the truth of the matter."

--The Colts signed running back Darren Evans to a reserve/future contract. Evans, an undrafted rookie in 2011, spent most of the past season on the team's practice squad.

--Former Canadian Football League LB Jerrell Freeman, meanwhile, has reportedly inked a three-year deal with the Colts. Freeman played for Saskatchewan last season.

--Archie Manning said that if given his druthers, Peyton Manning wouldn't leave Indianapolis.

In an interview with the New York Post from Lambeau Field, where Eli Manning and the Giants upset the defending Super Bowl champion Packers, Archie Manning said it remains the goal of Peyton Manning to win another title with the Colts.

"Peyton kind of likes his roots in Indy," Archie Manning told the Post. "We'll see what happens there. If that doesn't work and he can get healthy, we'll see. That'll all work out. He's just trying to get healthy."

New general manager Ryan Grigson said he had not talked to Peyton Manning as of Thursday. Grigson said he would be meeting with owner Jim Irsay to discuss the team's options in personnel.

Peyton Manning is owed a $28 million option bonus that would trigger the final four years of the five-year, $90 million deal he signed in July.

The Colts' roster is pocked with over-30 veterans with Pro Bowl credentials including center Jeff Saturday, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and defensive end Robert Mathis, and would lose most of their projected salary cap space by keeping Peyton Manning.

The decision is likely to come down to his health. He had three neck surgeries in 19 months as of September, when a spinal fusion was performed. Peyton Manning didn't play or practice in 2011 and has only resumed throwing passes regularly in the last five weeks.

There's also the matter of the No. 1 overall pick, which is widely expected to net the Colts -- or another franchise, should Grigson and Irsay decide to trade out of that spot -- Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

"He's got a great attitude," said Archie Manning. "He's just fighting and scratching, trying to get healthy. We'll see what happens."

Peyton Manning turns 36 on March 24.

--According to Irsay, Grigson signed a four-year deal with a team option for a fifth year. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Grigson said that he is going to take some time before diving into some of the Colts' most pressing issues, such as the fate of coach Jim Caldwell and any decisions regarding quarterback Peyton Manning.

The same goes for his immediate staff as well as the team's player personnel and scouting departments.

"I've been on teams before where guys were ran out just for the sake of running them out. I like to salvage things," Grigson said. "If there is ability, why get rid of it if it's going to help us get to where we want to go and see us through the vision of being great?"

Getting back to Indiana to work with his home-state team was a chance that he couldn't turn down.

"It's a tremendous opportunity and a once-in-a-lifetime blessing," Grigson said. "I was born in this state, raised in this state, went to college in this state and met my wife in this state.

"That says a lot about how near and dear Indiana is to me on all levels. That's comforting knowing that I'm going to be embarking on this opportunity and challenge with that as a backdrop."

Grigson has worked his way up the personnel ladder since breaking into the NFL as an area scout with the Rams in 1999. He was with St. Louis until 2003, when he left to become the director of college scouting with the Eagles.

--Colts director of player personnel Tom Telesco was one of eight finalists for the team's general manager position.

Team owner Jim Irsay said that Telesco is expected to remain in Indianapolis unless he gets an offer to be a GM for another team.

--The Colts have not renewed the contract of special teams coach Ray Rychelski, who had been with the team since 2009.

--The Colts signed wide receiver Jeremy Ross to a reserve/future contract. Ross was signed by Indianapolis to the practice squad on Sept. 28, and he remained there for the rest of the regular season. He was originally signed by New England as a rookie free agent on July 27.

--Indianapolis also signed wide receiver Jarred Fayson to a reserve/future contract. Fayson was originally signed by New Orleans as an undrafted free agent on July 27. He was waived Sept. 3. Indianapolis signed Fayson to its practice squad on Nov. 21, and he remained there for the rest of the season.

--While the Colts have the first pick in the 2012 draft, Indianapolis will not have the first pick in all seven rounds.

The NFL confirmed that since both the Colts and St. Louis both finished with identical 2-14 records, the two teams will take turns with the first pick in each round.

The Rams will go first in Round 2, and the Colts will be first in Round 3, and so on.

"I just want to pay tribute to all those guys. It's unfortunate because so many of them have been such a big part of so many big wins here, and this is so ... sudden. Their keys didn't work the next day. There's no other way to do it? I don't know. That's hard to see, all these people leaving. And I may be behind them. Who knows?" -- QB Peyton Manning on all the changes in the Colts' front office and on the coaching staff.

"In regards to Peyton, we are not even there with anything regarding Peyton Manning quite yet. We have to know about his medical, and there are so many things. I am not even there yet. This is about Jim Caldwell, his departure and moving forward in that direction. In regards to Peyton, I have not quite gone in that direction yet. That is something that has not been discussed. I reached out to him, missed his call and we haven't been able to hook up yet, but we've tried." -- General manager Ryan Grigson on QB Peyton Manning's possible return for the 2012 season and his health situation with the Colts.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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