Q: Let's talk about Rocky's contract status. He's an unrestricted free agent. How much does that picture change for you from a negotiating standpoint before March 3rd versus after that date?
A: Until March 3rd, we can only negotiate with Indy, so the ball really is in their court. I know Rocky has a favorable impression of the Colts. He has nothing but good feelings and warm regards towards the team. But to this point we haven't heard anything from Indy.
Once March 3rd comes, the scenario does change. In Rocky's case, we're realistically looking at going somewhere on a one-year, minimum type deal. That's the same thing that Vanden Bosch did when he came to Tennessee last year. If we go with a one-year minimum deal, then he goes and plays somewhere and shows that he can stay healthy, and then we go from there. If we go with a one-year minimum deal, then money becomes irrelevant after March 3rd because it will likely be the same everywhere. And at that point it's going to be all about who really wants Rocky, who shows the most interest, where we think he'll get the best opportunity to play, perhaps even where he wants to live. All of those things become important at that point. So things do change after March 3rd because the Colts lose any exclusive bargaining rights they have and we can go out and see what everybody else thinks.
Q: If the Colts would come to you prior to March 3rd with an offer, but tell you it's contingent on Rocky passing his physical, do you have any concern over whether or not he's ready to pass that physical?
A: No. We're probably a couple of weeks away from being able to completely pass a team physical. But we're ready for that and moving in that direction.
Q: Rocky does have some fans amongst the NFL coaching ranks. Any idea who might step forward and show some interest after March 3rd?
A: I know Gunther Cunningham loves Rocky. He was the linebackers coach with the Titans before he went to Kansas City. But there might not be a spot there for Rocky with some of the other players they brought in last year like Derrick Johnson and Kendrell Bell. But you're right, there are coaches around the league who like Rocky. He's one of those unique guys who knows how to play well between the tackles. You have to have a great first step to do that, and Rocky does. He plays with excellent game speed. There will be teams out there looking for a guy in the middle, and Rocky's going to be an excellent value. And once Rocky gets on the field consistently and plays, he's going to be a great addition to some team.
Q: Even though he was a middle linebacker, the Colts obviously felt he had the versatility to go outside, because that's where they planned to use him, right?
A: Yes, he can go to the outside and play, but he'd prefer to be inside, he's more comfortable there. But from a physical or talent standpoint, he has the ability to play outside linebacker, and that's certainly valuable.
Q: And he's pretty tenacious as a special teams player...
A: You love to have a guy like that on your special teams who can go down the field, have no fear, wrap up and knock a guy into next week. He's such a sure tackler. When he hits you, you're down. It's over. He's just so fundamentally sound and an exceptional tackler.