Give Indianapolis Colts second-year general manager Ryan Grigson credit for his willingness to go the extra mile when it comes to finding prospective players.
Grigson added players last season from the Canadian Football League (inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman) and the Indoor Football League (tight end Dominique Jones). Jones also spent time in the United Football League, as did cornerback Teddy Williams.
So far this year, the Colts have brought in outside linebacker Bjoern Werner, the team’s top draft pick who grew up in Germany, as well as former Kenyan rugby star turned outside linebacking prospect Daniel Adongo as a free agent.
Simply scouting and finding players at American universities just doesn’t cut it anymore. NFL general managers like Grigson are expanding their search net to other countries and other sports.
“I don’t discriminate. I would see guys in those [other professional] leagues where I’d say, ‘Heck, I was in three NFL training camps. That guy can play. Why is he in this league?’ I just figure we scour those leagues as best we can and maybe we look at 250 guys and we find three guys that look like suspects and out of those three suspects, one guy can play,” Grigson explained earlier in the week.
“We had a bunch of guys and that’s a credit to our pro scouts. They actually have part of their job description is to study those other leagues and to get film. It’s getting easier with the technology we have now and the internet and being able to upload those things, but the tape quality is always not that good. But when you’re looking at players from small schools in the same way in the college evaluation process, it takes patience. You have to have guys that are willing to grind. If you have patience and you have a go-getter mindset, like I feel like our scouts have and work so hard, they’re going to find a way to find players.”
During his rise as a talent evaluator in the CFL and NFL, the former Purdue offensive lineman found out where to look for players. He wants the same type of tenacity from the Colts’ scouting staff.
“We don’t have those guys scout those leagues if we don’t want to find anybody,” Grigson said. “Don’t come to me and tell me after you looked at every guy in the CFL, Arena League and the IFL or UFL. Don’t tell me out of 1,000 bodies, we can’t find three guys that have a chance. It’s a numbers game.”
I I I
n Looking beyond the borders — The San Francisco 49ers signed former British Olympic discus-thrower Lawrence Okoye to a free-agent deal in May. Okoye, like Adongo, has never played American-style football before.
Doesn’t matter. Both are exceptional athletes in their respective sports who have talents and the physical attributes that are transferable to their new vocations.
Okoye stands 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 304 pounds. He also has been timed in the 40-yard dash with a pretty quick time of 4.78 seconds and has a 35-inch vertical jump and a 10-5 broad jump. San Francisco officials hope to turn him into a defensive lineman.
Grigson and the Colts’ defensive coaching staff are gearing up to work with Adongo, who is 6-5 and 257 pounds, and tutor him into becoming a rush outside linebacker. They realize it won’t be easy. He just recently learned how to dress the part.
“Well right now, he’s the 90th man on the roster,” Grigson admitted. “He’s a guy we brought in that has a very raw skill set, obviously. We watched him throw a football for the first time and in about a nano-second we said, ‘You know he’s not a quarterback.’ He had never thrown a football before. But once you start seeing him move around with those long limbs and you see the type of competitor and really the traits he has as a human being and as an athlete, you have something to work with.
“You basically have a lump of clay for these coaches to work with. It’s not like he came from a small school, or he came from a guy that hadn’t played since high school. We’re talking about a guy that hasn’t been able to learn any bad habits because he’s never played. Anything he’s doing, I told them, that’s a bad habit, he must have learned it from you guys [the Colts coaching staff].”
Indianapolis linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald understands his task.
“He’s going to be a little bit on a different learning program. We’ll do the best. We’ll spend extra time with him like that. But we understand that when we’re talking to the veterans and the guys that have been here, it’s going to be well over his head. We can’t change gears for him right now. We can just try to pull him aside, do some extra things with him, coach him hard as best we can,” FitzGerald said.
“There’s going to be a learning curve here. It’s going to take a little bit of time. Nobody’s overly optimistic about that part because it’s just football. And at this level, you know what it’s about. It can be very complicated.”
Despite the inexperience, the Colts think they might have a diamond in the rough with Adongo.
“Size and athletic ability. Smarts. OK, like I said, the canvas is good because you got a guy you feel you’re going to make some good grass with this guy. You’re going to cover grass fast with him. And then you can see the toughness,” the veteran NFL assistant coach voiced.
“You look for certain components in a guy. Is he the full package? I don’t know. He could be. But you like the attributes you have and you know you can build on those. Man, the optimism goes out the roof. But you have to be patient as well to make this happen.”
• Bethea misses practice — Free safety Antoine Bethea had a good reason for being absent from Tuesday’s two practices.
Bethea became a father for the first time early Tuesday morning.
“Yeah, proud new papa, proud new papa, and congratulations to Antoine and his significant other, brand new baby girl. He texted me earlier [Tuesday] morning. They were induced last night and had the baby [Tuesday] morning,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano mentioned.
“A little girl, 5 pounds 18 inches. [Bethea] didn’t give me any ounces. We’ve got our newest cheerleader. A new Colts cheerleader. Congratulations to him. That’s awesome.”
• Injury list — Rookie center Khaled Holmes (ankle) safety Sergio Brown (hamstring) and inside linebacker Scott Luttrus (knee) left Tuesday afternoon’s practice early with injuries.
Sitting out the workout were rookie offensive guard Hugh Thornton (ankle), nose tackle Martin Tevasue (shoulder), running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), inside linebacker Pat Angerer (foot), nose tackle Brandon McKinney (knee) and rookie safety John Boyett (knees).
McKinney has been placed on injured reserve. He missed the 2012 season with a knee injury. Inside linebacker C.O. Prime was released earlier in the afternoon and then re-signed later in the day when McKinney was placed on IR.
n McNary arrives — Outside linebacker Josh McNary, signed by the Colts last spring, was reinstated from the reserve/military list and has been added to the team’s 90-man training camp roster. He went through his first practice with the team Tuesday afternoon.
McNary was discharged from the Army over the last few days, allowing him an opportunity to pursue a career in the NFL. A former defensive standout at West Point, McNary had hoped to be available to begin working out with the team last spring.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “The team as a whole has a lot of character. It’s something that I’d love to be a part of. The turnaround last season spoke for itself with what the team’s capable of. That’s really what sold me.
“That and then coach Pagano and Mr. Grigson telling me how I could contribute, that pretty much sold me on wanting to be a part of the Colts.”
• Hilton to sign with Titans — According to The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville, the Tennessee Titans plan to sign former Indiana State wide receiver Justin Hilton.
Hilton worked out for the Titans on Tuesday. He was with the Cincinnati Bengals last season and most recently the Arena Football League’s Tampa Bay Storm. The New England Patriots also were reportedly interested in Hilton’s services.
Give Indianapolis Colts second-year general manager Ryan Grigson credit for his willingness to go the extra mile when it comes to finding prospective players.
Colts waive running back Rainey
What a difference a couple of days make. After Saturday's morning training camp practice, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was effusive in his praise of running back Chris Rainey. But on Monday, the Colts surprisingly announced that Rainey had been waived after violating an unspecified team policy.
Colts camp: Defense shines in workout
There was a change in the Indianapolis Colts training camp schedule Monday as the team had just one practice instead of the usual two.
Colts seek more adaptable offensive line
That’s what the Indianapolis Colts are looking for on their retooled offensive line.
Hot, humid, rainy: Colts work through first day in full pads
Rain, rain go away. That’s pretty much what happened Sunday afternoon on the fourth day of Indianapolis Colts training camp.
Pagano, Colts 'feel awful' for Ballard
The news coming from Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano after Saturday morning’s practice may have been expected, but the fact that running back Vick Ballard suffered yet another season-ending injury was still disappointing.
COLTS NOTEBOOK: Luck draws comparisons to Rodgers, Roethlisberger
Quarterback Andrew Luck continues to be the main attraction as the Indianapolis Colts training camp wrapped up its third day of workouts at Anderson University.
Colts' Hamilton excited to get to work with talent on team's offense
As he heads into his second season as the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton has a pretty good feel for what he wants to get accomplished this year.
Wayne gets special escort to Colts’ training camp
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne has seemingly raised the bar the last several years when it comes to making flashy arrivals for Indianapolis Colts training camp. So when the unmistakable roar of an IndyCar engine was heard on the Anderson University campus Wednesday morning, nobody was surprised. Wayne, decked out in an official racing uniform and custom-made helmet, had reported for duty.
Colts begin training camp with loftier goals in 2014
With training camp starting today at Anderson University, third-year head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson both believe that the Indianapolis Colts are ready to take another big step in 2014.
Retiring as Colt, Clark appreciates Terre Haute fans
Dallas Clark was always a fan favorite when the Indianapolis Colts conducted their annual summer training-camp workouts at Rose-Hulman. During an emotional 45-minute retirement ceremony Wednesday morning at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, Clark — who spent 11 seasons as a tight end in the NFL (nine with the Colts) and signed a one-day career-ending contract with the Colts this week — admitted the obvious. The team’s fans in Terre Haute meant a lot to him too.
Colts know what they want to accomplish at mini-camp
With three weeks of organized team activity practices now behind them, the Indianapolis Colts headed into their three-day mandatory mini-camp Tuesday with a specific goal in mind when training camp starts July 23 at Anderson University.
The mini-camp will continue today and wrap up early Thursday afternoon.
Team’s all-time top tight end Clark to retire as Colt
Jeff Saturday did it last year, returning to the Indianapolis Colts after a brief stint as a center with the Green Bay Packers and officially ending his National Football League career with the team where he had his most success. Now it looks like Dallas Clark will be following in Saturday’s footsteps.
Colts agree to terms with veteran safety
Mike Adams will get a chance to erase bad memories from Super Bowl XLVIII as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
The franchise announced Saturday morning it had agreed to terms with the veteran safety.
Adams started the NFL's most recent championship game at free safety for the Denver Broncos and recorded six tackles in a 43-8 loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts
The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.
Newcomers to Colts trying to find their way
That’s what many of the Indianapolis Colts have been trying to do during the first week of organized team activity practices. OTA sessions began Tuesday and will wrap up in two weeks.
Pagano, Colts look at Mathis' suspension as opportunity for young players
The Indianapolis Colts lost first-year head coach Chuck Pagano for most of 2012 season as he battled leukemia. Gloom and doom was predicted. The result? An 11-5 record and a trip to the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs.
NFL suspends Colts’ Robert Mathis
While the Indianapolis Colts three-day rookie mini-camp got under way Friday morning, the biggest news didn’t come until later in the day.
Grigson excited about potential of Colts' 2014 draft picks
With the 2014 NFL draft wrapping up Saturday evening, the Indianapolis Colts came away with a diverse group of players to add to the roster.
Colts take versatile offensive lineman with first pick
It may have taken awhile, but the Indianapolis Colts came away from their first pick in the 2014 National Football League Draft with a versatile offensive lineman who can play guard, tackle and center.
Colts keep options open as NFL Draft begins today
While the 2014 NFL Draft gets underway today (8 p.m.) at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the Indianapolis Colts will be sitting the first round out.
Thanks to last September’s trade with the Cleveland Browns that brought running back Trent Richardson – a 2012 first-round selection by the Browns – to Indianapolis, the Colts will be on the outside looking in this evening.
Colts’ Luck getting timing down with newcomer Nicks
The Indianapolis Colts have officially put the 2013 season in the rear-view mirror with the start of the team’s off-season conditioning workouts, which got under way at the team’s West 56th Street Indiana Farm Bureau Center on Monday morning.
Colts open against Manning, Broncos
Indianapolis will open this season at AFC champion Denver in a Sunday night showdown pitting quarterback Peyton Manning against his former team.
Colts take another look at Shakir Bell
Under general manager Ryan Grigson, the Indianapolis Colts have searched nationally and internationally for talent to build a program that has won 23 of 34 games in the last two seasons.
On Wednesday, the Colts took a look at some Indianapolis-area talent, including former Warren Central High School and Indiana State standout Shakir Bell.
Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested
CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.
Family source: Irsay has gone to treatment facility
The family of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday that he has placed himself in a treatment facility after police found multiple prescription drugs in his vehicle during a traffic stop.
The 54-year-old Irsay, who acknowledged a painkiller dependency more than a decade ago, faces preliminary charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested near his home in suburban Carmel late Sunday and released the next day.
Colts owner has double image in media
Colts owner Jim Irsay is known in NFL circles as a tough businessman and eccentric billionaire who enjoys interacting with fans about his beloved team and favorite songs from bands like the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. He may end up adding convicted felon to the mix.
Update: Colts owner Irsay arrested for DWI
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Colts owner Jim Irsay was jailed today on suspicion of intoxicated driving after police said he failed sobriety tests during a traffic stop and they found multiple prescription drugs inside his vehicle.
Colts sign former Giants receiver Nicks
Ryan Grigson loves to make a deal. The Indianapolis Colts third-year general manager has earned a reputation around the National Football League as a guy who will act decisively and quickly if there’s somebody that he really wants. That trait proved true again Friday as the Colts added former New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks to the team’s roster.
Colts keep Vinatieri, Davis, Bradshaw in fold
With the NFL’s free-agency signing period getting underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday, it was fairly certain that the Indianapolis Colts would be active participants.
The Colts went into free agency with around $40 million of salary cap space in their back pocket. Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson, however, had indicated at the National Football Scouting Combine that he wanted to be judicious in how the team spent its money.
Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years
Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Pat McAfee — the Indianapolis Colts’ punter and kickoff specialist — tweeted that he had a special announcement to make at the top of the hour.
- More Colts Headlines
- Colts waive running back Rainey