Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

March 22, 2014

Irsay's absence not changing Colts' plans

Grigson says it's business as usual with draft looming.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Colts general manager Ryan Grigson is sticking to the plan.

He wants to find more competition through the draft and free agency — and that’s not changing simply because team owner Jim Irsay isn’t around.

At the team complex, Grigson said it’s been pretty much business-as-usual since Irsay was arrested Sunday night following a traffic stop. He faces preliminary charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance.

“He leaves the football stuff to me. He trusts me. That’s what he hired me to do,” Grigson said during Friday’s conference call with local reporters, his first public comments since the arrest. “If there’s something major, a transaction that’s going to go down, or I need to use his plane in free agency, or if there’s something I need to lean on him about in terms of using his football knowledge, from my benefit and the club’s benefit, then I reach out to him.”

Normally, in mid-March, Irsay, who once served as the Colts GM, is involved with draft preparation and signs off on any major deals.

It’s a lot different right now.

On Tuesday, Irsay’s family issued a statement saying he had voluntarily checked himself into a treatment facility. The move comes more than a decade ago after Irsay acknowledged a painkiller dependency. It’s unclear when Irsay will return to run the team.

If Irsay is charged and convicted on the felonies, he could face six months to three years in prison on each one. Irsay also could be fined or suspended by the NFL.

But it’s not as if Grigson doesn’t have help. He usually consults with coach Chuck Pagano before making decisions and one of Irsay’s daughters, Carlie, also is filling in while her father is out.

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