It’s time to provide a reality check on certain subjects that have made recent headlines about your Indianapolis Colts.
I’ve received my share of emails and tweets involving Colts owner Jim Irsay, whose Aug. 28 trial date for charges of operating a vehicle while under the influence has been continued to Oct. 30. When players including one of his own, LaVon Brazill, were suspended for league violations, many were quick to rush to judgment on what they perceived to be a double standard.
Why hasn’t Irsay been punished yet by the league? Because the NFL is waiting for Irsay to have his day in court. But aside from Irsay getting help and hopefully beating his addiction to pain medication, what really matters? For those who expect justice, it’s coming. There’s no doubt NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will eventually suspend Irsay and add a hefty fine. And while the dollar amount might raise eyebrows, Irsay donating to charities is a seemingly weekly event on his Twitter account.
Until then, we wait. And there’s no reason to get worked up over why it’s taking so long. Blame it on the wheels of justice. If Goodell goes light on Irsay, that will be the time for a few of us opinionated souls in the media to sharpen our swords and hack away on our keyboards. But not until then.
Switching topics, former Colts vice chairman Bill Polian recently said that if he would have stuck to his premonition to draft quarterback Andy Dalton in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Polian would still have his job in Indy.
I’ve read tweets and other fan comments that have agreed with this. Some have even praised Polian for speaking his mind.
It’s true, when Polian makes a candid comment, he’s as convincing as anyone in the world. But for the few of us who remember the facts, a word of advice: This wouldn’t be the first time the ESPN analyst suffered from revisionist history.
The facts get in the way of this opinion. The Colts ended up drafting offensive left tackle Anthony Castonzo in the first round in 2011. And I remember it well because it’s probably the only time Bill and Chris Polian marched into the media room and didn’t say the draft board fell exactly as they expected. Every other year in more than a decade of reporting, you could count on Bill saying the board played out as planned. But not this time.
The Polians said they couldn’t believe Castonzo fell to them with the 22nd overall pick. They said they were thrilled. The Colts needed an offensive left tackle, too. The pick met an obvious need, regardless of what has been said years later. If Bill is being truthful now, then it’s his fault for not overruling his son and making the pick he wanted.
Castonzo is too classy of a guy to give a reaction to this “revelation.” But it had to be a bit disconcerting, to say the least. All he’s done is start every game he’s played at left tackle, 47 counting the playoffs in three years, at the toughest spot on the O-line.
Last but not least, much has been made about whether wide receiver Reggie Wayne and other rehabbing veterans should play in Saturday night’s home preseason game against New Orleans. Colts coach Chuck Pagano has been adamant about being cautious with players returning from injury, especially the 35-year-old Wayne. And you can understand why. Wayne is more than just a six-time Pro Bowl star. He’s a leader and a valuable member of a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.
So what is the real heart of the matter? While Wayne would like to get in a few snaps against the Saints, the smart call is to sit him. Why risk it? It’s just preseason. And as Pagano has told reporters and even Wayne himself, there is no doubt No. 87 remembers how to play the game and will be ready come Week 1.
We anxiously await his return so Wayne can show what he has left. And I, for one, don’t think one half of a preseason game is going to change that, unless Pagano gives in and plays Wayne and the receiver gets hurt. After playing it safe for a month with a guy who is about 10 months removed from right ACL surgery, turning him loose now just doesn’t make sense.
So for those scoring at home, we don’t need to rush to judgment on an NFL owner’s inevitable punishment, we shouldn’t be swayed by the selective memory of a former Colts boss and nobody should get too excited about preseason football as it relates to a star player we want to see back on the field come Sept. 7 at Denver.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.