Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay sounded the warning bell during Wednesday’s press conference announcing the release of 14-year quarterback Peyton Manning.
Irsay admitted at the time that Manning’s departure would probably not be the last major shakeup to the team’s aging roster. That much proved true Friday when the team parted ways with five more players — tight end Dallas Clark, middle linebacker Gary Brackett, running back Joseph Addai, safety Melvin Bullitt and backup quarterback Curtis Painter.
The reasoning? Simple. All five were salary-cap casualties. The fact that Clark, Brackett, Addai and Bullitt have all also battled injury issues over the past couple of seasons may have also entered into the team’s thought process.
Clark missed most of the 2010 season and was sidelined for several games last season. Brackett and Bullitt have both suffered season-ending shoulder injuries the last two years.
Despite the reasoning, the decision to part ways with four key members of a roster that made two trips to the Super Bowl, winning one, and playing in three AFC title games was not an easy one.
“These players all made tremendous contributions to the organization and will forever be members of the Colts family,” Irsay said in a statement released by the team Friday. “It’s always difficult to make these decisions which the nature of the salary cap requires. Their legacies with the Colts will be forever remembered by the organization, fans and Indianapolis community. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”
Recently hired general manager Ryan Grigson understands the ramifications of releasing fan favorites like Manning, Clark, Brackett and Addai.
“All of these players, we would love to have them here. It was not easy. It was agonizing. You know the situation that we are in roster-wise, what we are trying to do. They were cap casualties,” Grigson said during a Friday evening teleconference.
“That is the way the thing is set up. There is no easy way to do it, but it’s hard. It involves the cap and the money involved, you just can’t do certain things and the cap doesn’t allow you to. They are cap casualties in the truest since of the word.”
What is Indianapolis’ salary cap situation? The Colts’ GM wouldn’t address that.
“I am not going to get into specifics numbers-wise. I just released some really great players. I prefer to speak about players that we released today, and again I am not going to give out specific numbers, but we are definitely in a tough situation,” Grigson said, adding that the release of Clark, Addai, Brackett, Bullitt and Painter does help in that regard.
“It helps. I mean it helps. You have to make these decisions obviously to help your future. This is what this is all about, it is about the future. It is about the future of the franchise. If you do all of these things with the fans in mind and with all of our future players and our existing players … yes, it is going to help, but we are not out of the woods by any means.”
Will more players be released in the coming days and weeks? Grigson, again, deferred.
“As of right now, this is where we are at. These are the players today that we let go. That is where our focus is at. Every day is a different day here. You know we have been doing things piece mailed one day at a time, and as of right now that is where we are at with the cuts,” he said.
With these recent roster moves, are the Colts in a better position to make a play for veteran free agent players from other teams. The National Football League’s free agency period begins on Tuesday.
“We are going to try and do our best. Obviously you would love to just get out the shopping cart and go and pick, you know, all the players you would like. We are in a tough spot right now. We are going to do our best to find the best players we are capable of getting underneath the constraints we have right now fiscally,” Grigson explained.
“I wish I could [say how long the rebuilding process is going to take]. None of these things are easy. Every day has been a day that we’re chipping away and trying to move forward. I can’t give a timeline on when we’ll all of the sudden arrive. It’s a daily process and we’re all busting our tails to do our best and do right by the city and by the franchise moving forward. We’re doing our best.”
For those players still on the roster, how are they supposed to feel about all the recent roster moves?
“They are going to learn to buy in. They are going to feel when they walk in here that we are working hard to make this place great once again. It’s going to be something that we’re all going to have to be on board together and work together daily to get to where we want to go,” Grigson countered.
“We’re all going to share the same vision. The people we brought in here will share the same vision. It’s up to coach [Chuck] Pagano, which I’m confident he’ll instill that vision with the players who are here now and the players that we’ll be bringing in the future.”
• Freeney leaving too? — ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday that the Colts might be receptive to offers from other NFL teams for the services of Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney.
Freeney will count $19 million against the salary cap and Indianapolis officials would like him to re-work his contract in an effort to help alleviate the cap burden. The Colts’ all-time sack leader, though, has reportedly refused to make any changes.
Should another team be interested in Freeney, the price will apparently be steep. Indianapolis is looking for the right trading partner who is willing to make the best deal for the 11-year veteran.
When asked about the report, Grigson opted not to respond.
“I am not going to speak on rumors. Dwight is a member of our club. I am here to talk about the players we released today,” he voiced.
Colts cut five more players in a major move hinted at by Irsay earlier in the week
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay sounded the warning bell during Wednesday’s press conference announcing the release of 14-year quarterback Peyton Manning.
- Pro Sports
Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the NFL draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
The Indianapolis Colts’ roster moves just keep coming.
While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts introduce free-agent signees
What the Indianapolis Colts accomplished last season — posting an 11-5 record and earning an AFC wild-card berth with a young team plus having that kind of success without its head coach on the sidelines for 12 games — didn’t go unnoticed by players around the NFL.
That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
A week ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said it was a priority that the team retain the services of punter Pat McAfee.
McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Harbaugh brothers — Jim and John — to face off in Super Bowl
Get ready for the Brother Bowl.
Pagano prepares Colts for tough crowd in Baltimore
As a former resident of Baltimore, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows all about the hard feelings that still run strong about the move of the Colts franchise to Indianapolis in 1984.
It's a job, not a reunion, Luck says
Andrew Luck made one thing clear this week.
He doesn’t regard Sunday’s game at Reliant Stadium with the Houston Texans as a chance to go back to his home town and talk about old times.
Colts’ meeting comes on heels of Texans’ big loss
The Indianapolis Colts are quite aware of who, and what, they’re going to be facing Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
Former Illinois star Meyers Leonard living the NBA dream
One thing is for certain. Meyers Leonard of the Portland Trail Blazers doesn’t need 40 minutes to incite a crowd with a posterizing slam dunk or a big shot block.
At just 20 years of age, the former Robinson, Ill., standout who took his talents to Champaign for two years is getting his feet wet at the highest level of basketball.
Close to 300 fans, many of whom watched Leonard take the Maroons to the 2010 IHSA Class 2A state championship, rode on charter buses to watch him battle the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis last week.
Update: Ravens dismiss former South standout Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator
Former Terre Haute South High School football and basketball standout Cam Cameron was fired Monday as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, who have lost two straight and are still striving for consistency in the running and passing game.
Leonard has moment for highlight reel, but Pacers come away with victory
One night after pulling even with the Chicago Bulls for first place in the NBA’s Central Division, the Indiana Pacers at least maintained that advantage thanks to another big game from Paul George.
Titans to sport new look vs. Colts
Even though the Indianapolis Colts won the first meeting with the Tennessee Titans, interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians doesn’t think it will help his team Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Lions present many challenges for Colts
Finding a way to stop, or at least slow down, the Detroit Lions’ fast-paced offense is the primary goal of Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
Wild card looking mighty doable right now: Colts improve to 7-4 with win
Don't look now, but the upstart Indianapolis Colts have jumped to the front
of class when it comes to securing one of the two available wild-card berths
in the upcoming AFC playoffs.
‘Resilient’ label fits Colts
If there is a word that best describes the 2012 Indianapolis Colts, it just might be “resilient.”
Do-or-die Bills next for Colts
Indianapolis Colts interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is quite aware that the Buffalo Bills are coming into Sunday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium (1 p.m. kickoff, CBS Sports) facing a do-or-die situation in regard to the postseason.
How will the Colts rebound vs. the Bills?
The big question for the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare for Sunday's home game with Buffalo is a pretty simple one.
Colts healthy entering key road game
If all goes well during today’s short walk-through practice, it appears the Indianapolis Colts will be in pretty good health heading into Sunday’s nationally televised (4:25 p.m., CBS Sports) road game with the New England Patriots.
Colts, Patriots renew rivalry for 10th straight year
Once again, Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., it’s the Indianapolis Colts playing the New England Patriots.
Times have changed
A lot has changed for the Indianapolis Colts since a 22-17 home loss to Jacksonville on Sept. 23.
For starters, that’s the only game the 1-7 Jaguars have won this season. Indianapolis, meanwhile, has posted wins in four of its last five games and is rolling along with a 5-3 record.
Many Colts point to that loss in the third week of the season. Indianapolis led 14-3 at the half and were ahead 14-13 after three quarters of play.
In fact, the Colts led 17-16 with 0:45 remaining in the game. That’s when Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert connected with speedy wide receiver Cecil Shorts III on an 80-yard pass play that resulted in the final margin of victory.
Colts not carried away with success
The Indianapolis Colts have surprised many fans and media around the NFL by getting off to a 4-3 start this season.
Not pretty, but Colts take win
Strictly from an aesthetic point of view, the Indianapolis Colts’ 17-13 National Football League win over the Cleveland Browns wasn’t very attractive.
Browns rusher has taken criticism from Hall of Famer to heart
Trent Richardson has a point to prove.
Colts wish linebackers could play more at same time
If the Indianapolis Colts could get both of their starting outside linebackers — Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis — on the field together for more than four quarters this season, it would be interesting to see how quickly the team’s defensive unit could continue its development.
Pagano gives Colts 4 days off
With a bye this weekend, the Indianapolis Colts went through a short week of practice before taking a long four-day weekend.
Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano put the Colts through workouts Tuesday and Wednesday before allowing the team to scatter across the country.
Players are due back Sunday evening as Pagano and his coaching staff hope to hit the ground running heading into Indianapolis’ Oct. 7 home game with Green Bay.
Tentative agreement reached on NFL referees' contract
The NFL and the referees’ union reached a tentative contract agreement at midnight today, ending an impasse that began in June when the league locked out the officials and used replacements instead.
“Our officials will be back on the field starting tomorrow night” for the Cleveland-Baltimore game, Commissioner Roger Goodell said after a day of marathon negotiations.
With Goodell at the table, the sides concluded two days of talks with the announcement of a tentative eight-year deal, which must be ratified by 51 percent of the union’s 121 members. They plan to vote Friday.
Colts receiver Collie will miss season with knee injury
Indianapolis Colts receiver Austin Collie will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee.
Wide receiver Avery starting to feel at home with Colts
Count Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians as two of Donnie Avery’s biggest supporters.
The Colts’ wide receiver, who has struggled with knee issues the last two seasons after being the first receiver selected in the 2008 NFL draft, opened a lot of eyes in last Sunday’s 23-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Avery hauled in nine passes for 111 yards in the victory, his first big performance since joining the team as an unrestricted free agent last March.
- More Pro Sports Headlines
- Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks