Colts Preparing to Enter the Grigson Era

Brett Mock reports that NFL sources are confirming Ryan Grigson as the future Colts General Manager.


Adam Schefter tweeted this morning that NFL league sources can confirm an agreement in principle between the Indianapolis Colts and Ryan Grigson — meaning the lawyers simply have to nail down the specific contract language and the team has to hold a press conference. Things rarely break down in contract negotiations and the hiring process once it has reached this point.

*UPDATE Jim Irsay has now made it official as well by posting a story on about the signing.

Assuming Grigson’s process is like most others, it means the 9-day wait for a new Colts General Manager is over. It means a new era is about to begin. It also means that Ryan Grigson is about to undertake the biggest challenge of his professional career and that Jim Irsay thinks he is the man for the job.

What could lead Irsay and Grigson to the conclusion that this marriage is best for the Indianapolis Colts and their own professional careers? Consider that Grigson is an Indiana native, who grew up in Highland, Indiana. He played college football at Purdue University.

Also consider the Irsay made it very clear in his press conference and radio show that he was going to look for candidates who did not necessarily have experience as a general manager, that were relatively young (Grigson is 39), driven, and had a clear vision for the future of the franchise. In many respects, Grigson’s resume and Hoosier history suggest that he is the kind of guy who could strike the balance Irsay has been looking for.

Very few young NFL executives have advanced their careers at a pace as aggressive as Grigson’s. He won’t get the notoriety of a DeCosta or a McKenzie but examine his resume:

Grigson played tight end and offensive line at Purdue and was one of the team’s three captains in 1993 and 1994 — which happened to be Purdue’s first winning season in a decade. This is after he suffered an injury to his kidneys when he was hit in the stomach by a Minnesota defender his sophomore year, resulting in hospitalization and causing Grigson to miss the entire 1992 season.

Grigson was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL Draft, was cut, and picked up by the Detroit Lions — where he would remain for 1995 season.

Grigson was cut by the Lions in August of 1996 and moved on to play in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts in 1997. He suffered a career-ending back injury and was forced to retire.

Grigon’s love for the game was apparent though. He immediately moved on to be an assistant coach for McPherson’s College and a Pro Scout for the Sasketchewan Roughriders in 1998.

Not satisfied, Grigson took the opportunity to be the player personnel coordinator and assistant coach for the Buffalo Destroyers of the Arena Football League in 1999.

Grigson was hired as a national scout for the St. Louis Rams in 1999 — the team that won Super Bowl XXXIV. He was still with the team when the Rams returned to the Super Bowl in 2001 as an area scout.

With five years of NFL experience under his belt, Grigson attracted the attention of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles signed him as a western regional scout in 2004 — where he was a part of the Eagles NFL Championship team. He made an impression on the Philadelphia front office in a hurry. In 2006, he was promoted to director of college scouting. In 2010, he was promoted to director of player personnel.

Now, if sources are correct and the legal process goes smoothly, he will be hired as the General Manager of the Indianapolis Colts on January 11, 2012.

Source: Wikipedia

So what we know is that Grigson is a former football player. He understands what it is like to suffer through injuries, what it is like to have pressure to play football and deal issues only players could fully appreciate. We know that Grigson has brief experience coaching players, establishing relationships with players as a personnel director, and has been all over the country and even spent time in Canada scouting football players.

We also know that obstacles Grigson has faced collegiately and professionally have not slowed him down on his rise to NFL legitimacy and respect. A man whose learning curve is from being a retired CFL player to NFL general manager in just 14 years is pretty astonishing.

Additionally, the Colts blog entry linked above mentions that Grigson played a part in scouting and drafting Eagles Pro Bowlers LeSean McCoy and Desean Jackson, and played an important role in free agent acquisitions like Jason Babin, Nnmadi Asomugha, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. A solid resume of talent acquisition from the draft and free agency for a guy who spent just one season and off-season (during a lockout) to get comfortable in his new role.

Now all Colts fans have to figure out is what kind of personality does Grigson have? Where does he stand on Peyton Manning? What direction does he intend to take the team? What are his first steps? How does he handle the imminent salary cap concerns and numerous veteran free agent contract issues facing the team? How quickly does he intend to take action? What does this mean for Jim Caldwell’s future?

That’s the funny thing in Indianapolis right now folks. Even answers generate more questions.

Expect a press coference at some point later today or tomorrow morning announcing Grigson’s arrival in Indianapolis. A new era is about to begin in Indianapolis.