In his first comments since owner Jim Irsay's arrest and subsequent entry into rehabilitation, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson reinforced Friday that the team's ability to function won't be impacted by Irsay's absence.
"I don't know if many people really realize, but Jim is so experienced and so weathered in football experience, being around the game his whole life," Grigson said. "But he's never been a micromanager, never really meddled or anything like that. He really leaves football decisions up to myself and the head coach (Chuck Pagano) and really has been great in that respect."
Addressing Irsay's situation generally, Grigson said, "Nothing but great things to say about Jim. He's been magnificent and has done so much for myself, Chuck, the entire building. Everyone in the building loves the man and we'd all run through a brick wall for him. We just wish him a full and complete recovery. We're all really pulling for him."
Irsay was arrested late Sunday and preliminarily charged with driving while under the influence and four counts of possession of controlled substances.
On Monday, according to the team, he entered a treatment facility where he will be a patient for an undetermined length of time. Eldest daughter Carlie Irsay Gordon will assume her father's role during his absence.
Grigson outlined times when Irsay is most involved with football decisions, moments where Irsay Gordon presumably will now be consulted.
"When there's big dollars or something major going on, Jim is always right there," Grigson said. "But again, he leaves the football decisions up to me and he trusts me. That's what he hired me to do. He hired me to make football decisions. So, I don't see any of that changing. If there's some major transaction going to go down or I need to use his plane for something in free agency or there's something I need to lean on him for in terms of using his football knowledge for my benefit or to the club's benefit, I reach out to him. But like I said, he doesn't micromanage and he lets us all do our jobs. I really don't see it being an issue."
Speaking of free agency, Grigson seems to be finished with the heavy lifting. The strong safety and center positions, where the team is moving forward without last season's starters, can be addressed between players currently on the roster or through the draft, Grigson said.
"You never say you're done," he said. "If something pops up, I'm always looking at it, if one of my (scouts) brings me a name that is of interest. We had a plan and we feel really good about it. We feel real good where we're at right now. We're going to look toward the draft. You never say never and we're always trying to get better. If somebody pops up and they make sense from a roster standpoint and they kind of fit the specs – age and money, big picture – then I'll look at it."
Stephen Holder also writes for the Indianapolis Star