Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

January 16, 2014

Colts start sifting through offseason options

(Continued)

The bigger questions are on the personnel front.

Twenty-two players could become restricted or unrestricted free agents in March. The list includes names such as safety Antoine Bethea, running back Donald Brown, cornerback Vontae Davis, punter Pat McAfee and kicker Adam Vinatieri — all of whom played key roles in 2013.

Some of those players already sound like they're leaving town.

"Was an honor and privilege to play for the Colts," Brown wrote Wednesday on Twitter, continuing a theme that started Monday morning in the locker room. "An organization made up of phenomenal people. Will always be indebted to the horseshoe."

Brown was Indy's top rusher this season when Indy finished 12-6 — including its first playoff win since 1971 without either Jim Harbaugh or Peyton Manning at quarterback.

Grigson insisted he's not discussed the future possibilities with either players or coaches.

But with Vick Ballard, Indy's top runner in 2012, returning from a torn ACL and Trent Richardson, who Indy got by trading a first-round pick to Cleveland in September, both back, Brown may be out of a job. Ballard is confident he'll be healthy for training camp, and Grigson is committed to giving Richardson another chance.

"We have patience. He's not going anywhere. We have him for the long haul," Grigson said of Richardson. "We don't win 12 games this year if Trent Richardson isn't here. That's just a fact.

"I think Trent fits all the things that we are trying to do here. If it isn't this year, it's going to be next year because he's going to have the offseason," Grigson added.

What else must Grigson contemplate before dipping into free agency and the draft?

Injuries and future obligations.

Indy finished the season with 17 players on injured reserve including five key offensive players — Ballard, tight end Dwayne Allen, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, starting guard Donald Thomas and receiver Reggie Wayne. Meanwhile, Luck and his fellow 2012 draft picks can start signing contract extensions following the 2015 season.

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