With their time occupied by Super Bowl XLVI festivities and the finalizing of a coaching staff, the Indianapolis Colts' new "football" tandem is batting .500 in terms of meeting with quarterback Peyton Manning as he continues his rehabilitation from neck surgery.
New general manager Ryan Grigson, who met here on Thursday afternoon with several members of the media, said he and Manning recently had a sitdown for about 20 minutes. The two originally exchanged texts, and then subsequently huddled for what Grigson termed a "straightforward" and "man to man" meeting.
Meeting with the media about an hour later, rookie coach Chuck Pagano allowed that he had Manning have not yet discussed the quarterback's future.
Both men emphasized that a decision about Manning, who is owed a $28 million option bonus on March 8 and will become an unrestricted free agent if the franchise does not pay it, will be based on the quarterback's health, not on sentiment.
Said Grigson: "If you don't divorce yourself from sentiment, you're going to make bad decisions." Grigson also characterized the situation as a "very unique" one.
Grigson contended the Colts are in "a holding pattern" on their quarterback situation, but was speaking generally, while the question posed to him actually was concerning a choice between Andrew Luck of Stanford and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor, with the top overall selection in three months. The new GM essentially said that, while he has watched some video of prospects for the draft and visited 45 schools in his previous post with the Philadelphia Eagles, there is still considerable work to be done in an assessment process in its early stages.
"It's a process," Grigson said, who suggested he has yet to "hunker down" for more scrutiny of the 2012 draft class.
Both men lauded the hiring of Greg Manusky as defensive coordinator, and said he will fit in well with the organization's philosophy. Pagano said that Manusky, who was fired by San Diego last week, will bring "great passion and energy" to the unit.
Grigson insisted Manusky will provide a defense flexibility and Pagano determines whether the Colts will be a 4-3 or 3-4 front, and that the new coordinator fits nicely with "the philosophy of not putting a square peg in a round hole."
There are, Pagano and Grigson agreed, some difficult and important decisions to be made beyond the call on Manning. Those decisions, and the finalization of the last few vacancies on the coaching staff, probably won't come until after the Super Bowl. The Colts' new direction has been a major subplot here this week in the run-up to the championship game on Sunday evening.
Grigson said the atmosphere surrounding the franchise and the city is "controlled chaos" right now.
"I revel in it," he said.
Len Pasquarelli is a Senior NFL Writer for The Sports Xchange. He has covered the NFL for 33 years and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. His NFL coverage earned recognition as the winner of the McCann Award for distinguished reporting in 2008.