The Colts have saw another pair of free agents depart in the last week, as the team elected not to match Cincinnati's offer for restricted free agent Ben Utecht, and unrestricted free agent Rocky Boiman signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
But the most important news out of Indianapolis isn't who's leaving, but who's staying. Team president Bill Polian signed an extension for "three or four years" according to owner Jim Irsay.
This can only be seen as good news for the team and for Colts fans. Indianapolis has enjoyed a remarkable run of success during Polian's tenure, compiling a 95-55 record since 1998, Polian's first year with the team, and winning Super Bowl XLI.
At 65, Polian is no spring chicken, but the Colts' brain trust of Irsay, Polian, and head coach Tony Dungy seem to be the perfect fit in Indianapolis at this time, and Irsay deserves credit for keeping both his respected coach and peerless team president in the fold for 2008 and beyond.
More from Irsay:
In an interview with Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, Irsay also talked about Marvin Harrison returning from a knee injury in 2008 and the prospect of Harrison finishing his career with the team.
"That's the way you hope it turns out, but you just don't know," Irsay told Chappell. "Sometimes a player is not ready to say, 'I'm ready to retire,' and you're saying, 'You should retire.' Ideally you want that storybook type of thing. Wouldn't it have been nice if Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice retired as 49ers and Cowboys? Yes, but you just never know."
Jim Irsay hopes that Marvin Harrison will finish his career as a Colt
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
That's not exactly encouraging talk from the owner of the team about one of the best players to ever put on a Colts uniform, but it's a realistic viewpoint. Some of the best players of all time — such as Rice and Smith, as well as Joe Montana — retired wearing a different uniform than the one they donned in their glory days.
And given the uncertainty of Harrison's return to form after a knee injury that sidelined him for most of 2007, one can't blame Irsay for his comments. Harrison is set to cost the Colts a lot of money over the next three years. If he doesn't return as play effectively, it's impossible to justify that cost.
On the other hand, Harrison likely knows that 2008 is an important year for him to prove his doubters wrong as he heads into the final years of his spectacular career. Rumor has it Harrison has been working out extremely hard to get ready for next season, and fans have to like the idea of a surefire Hall of Famer with something to prove at this stage in his career. If he can get healthy, expect a Marvin Harrison-type year from Marvin Harrison this fall.
Scouting the small schools:
We've reported on some of the prospects from smaller schools, like Wisconsin-Whitewater RB Justin Beaver and Augustana (SD) College WR Tommy Ellingworth. With a lot of picks at the back end of the NFL Draft, the Colts seem to be committed to taking a look at any player — from any level of football — that could help the team in training camp or beyond.
Aside from Ellingworth and Beaver, the Colts have also showed interest in the following players beneath the Division I level:
• Bentley College OG Mackenzy Bernadeau. According to The Star-Ledger's Mike Garafolo, the Colts showed interest in Bernadeau, from DII Bentley, at Boston College's Pro Day earlier this month. Look for a scouting report on this player in the next week.
• Wheaton College LB Andy Studebaker. Brad Briggs of the Chicago Tribune reported this week that Indianapolis has scheduled a meeting with this Division III player.
• Bethel College RB Adrain Smith. Josh Buchanan of NFLDraftBible.com reported that the Colts seemed impressed with Smith during Bethel's Pro Day.
• Lamuth RB Allen Ervin. Scout.com confirmed Ervin had a pre-draft visit with the team a few weeks ago.
• Appalachian State OG Kerry Brown. Josh Buchanan of NFLDraftBible.com reported that Indianapolis worked out Brown after the Appalachian State Pro Day last week. Brown helped the Mountaineers to one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history, with a win over Michigan last season, and was big part of the team's third-straight national title at the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) level.
It's obvious from this list that Indianapolis is looking everywhere for potential depth. Whether any of these players ends up with a contract from the Colts, or ever wears the horseshoe on Sunday, one has to admire the depth and dedication of the team's scouting.
We'll continue to bring you scouting reports from the hottest draft prospects, as well as all the potential free agents the team may be interested in, in the coming weeks.
— The Colts announced a new mascot contest this week, where fans are encouraged to submit a new logo to supplement the team's timeless horseshoe.
The contest at Colts.com asks for designs of a horse that is "playful yet strong" and will appeal to Colts fans.
Click on this link for full details of the contest, which has a deadline of April 16. The grand prize is a pair of lower-level season tickets and $1,000.
— We attempted to put a poll up in the forums this week, but had to pull it because of an oversight. However, look for a poll to go up each week in the free forum to get the pulse of ColtPower fans. I'll discuss the results in this column each week.
— As mentioned in last week's Quick Hits, SI.com's Vault feature is a great way to relive the team's history — both the glorious and inglorious parts.
Here's a little gem from 1984, the team's first year in Indianapolis, when a young Jim Irsay found himself in the middle of a brouhaha between his father, Robert, and then-Colts coach Frank Kush:
SI's Jill Lieber wrote, "Talk going around Indianapolis is that coach Frank Kush was fired during a locker room tiff with owner Bob Irsay on Nov. 25, and that he'll wind up in Arizona as coach of the USFL's Outlaws.
"The story goes like this: Irsay's wife, Harriet, phoned her husband in his box—just before the half, with the Colts trailing the Raiders 14-0, and said that even she knew what was going wrong offensively with the Colts.
So Irsay sent son Jimmy, the Colts' general manager, down to the locker room. According to several Colts players, Jimmy told Kush, 'Those guys are reading our offense. And Dad said to tell you that the offense is a stinking mess. He wants you to do something about it.'
"The players say Kush replied, 'I run this team, and if he doesn't like it, he can damn well get somebody else.'
"Jimmy went back upstairs and reported to Dad. Minutes later, the players say, Irsay burst into the locker room, collared Kush and pulled him off into another room, where, the players believe, Kush was canned."