By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The offseason is just more than one week old, and it’s already been eventful for Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson.
The team lost vice president of football operations Tom Telesco to the San Diego Chargers and replaced him with San Diego’s Jimmy Raye III. It also said an amicable farewell to special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf and is still searching for his replacement.
Then there’s the ongoing saga with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who went 9-3 as interim head coach this season in Chuck Pagano’s absence and has drawn interest from teams with head coaching vacancies. Arians reportedly is one of three finalists to become the next head coach of the Chicago Bears, but Grigson said he has no more information on that situation than what’s available on television.
“It’s a holding pattern,” he said Monday at the team’s practice facility. “I’m waiting to get a text or a rogue text even, someone to tell me something about what’s going on. I’d like to know. He’s an important piece to this franchise. He’d be sorely missed.”
Grigson said he hopes to retain Arians but won’t do anything to stand in the way of the coordinator furthering his career.
Arians and Pagano were named coach of the year Tuesday by the Maxwell Football Club and the Kansas City-based 101 Awards.
“In this league, this a by-product of winning,” Grigson said, acknowledging the outside interest in Arians. “People try to raid the henhouse when you win some games. Everyone wants a little piece of it.”
The same is likely to be true as players scheduled for free agency — including outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, punter Pat McAfee, cornerback Jerraud Powers, wide receiver Donnie Avery and right tackle Winston Justice — approach the free market.
In-depth player evaluation is just beginning, but Grigson promised to be aggressive in filling out the roster. The Colts already have about 58 players under contract for the 2013 season, and they are expected to have more than $40 million in available salary cap space.
“I think obviously this looks like a more attractive job for a potential GM this year than it did last year,” Grigson said and then laughed.
The goal is to compile a deep roster and allow players to battle for jobs in training camp. That kind of competition is at the core of both Grigson’s and Pagano’s philosophy.
Camp has been held at Anderson University for the past three summers, but Grigson said a return to campus this year has not yet been finalized.
“Right now, I’m not 100 percent sure (the team is going back to AU),” he said. “We’re looking at that right now, and I’d have to get with certain people in the building to see exactly where we are on that. But we really enjoyed our stay in Anderson last year, and hopefully we can get that worked out.”