By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Perhaps it’s time for Plan C.
The Indianapolis Colts reportedly met with free agent wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey on Tuesday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, but no deal was announced with the former Oakland Raider.
Heyward-Bey is scheduled to meet today with the Detroit Lions and has also been linked to the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills since being released by Oakland the day after free agency opened on March 13.
The Colts have made no secret they’d like to add a wide receiver this offseason. Owner Jim Irsay announced the team was close to landing a “whopper” on his Twitter account late on the night of March 16. Irsay later confirmed the mystery target mentioned in the tweet was a wide receiver but declined to name the player.
That deal apparently fell apart, and Indianapolis signed backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin last week before welcoming Heyward-Bey for a visit.
The Colts lost last year’s second-leading receiver, Donnie Avery, in free agency to the Kansas City Chiefs. And general manager Ryan Grigson told season ticket holders during a Monday conference call he feels Heyward-Bey would be a good fit in Indy.
“He has tremendous speed,” Grigson said, according to the team’s website. “He’s got a lot of tools to work with. I think he played for three quarterbacks out there in Oakland. So hopefully we can land him, and he can be more comfortable being somewhere where his quarterback is Andrew Luck.”
Heyward-Bey has 140 career receptions for 2,071 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the Raiders. He played under three head coaches — Tom Cable, Hue Jackson and Dennis Allen — and with a host of quarterbacks including Jason Campbell, Bruce Gradkowski and Carson Palmer in Oakland.
But he might prefer to tie his future to Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and line up on the opposite side of the NFL’s best current wide receiver, Calvin Johnson.
If Heyward-Bey leaves Indianapolis without a contract, he could complete a free agent tour before returning home to make a decision.
The Colts have productive players Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton returning at the position, and the team has high hopes for youngsters LaVon Brazill, Nathan Palmer and Griff Whalen.
If Heyward-Bey balks at Indianapolis’ offer, the team could turn elsewhere in free agency or wait to fill the need with the No. 24 overall pick in next month’s NFL draft.