INDIANAPOLIS -- Colts general manager Ryan Grigson is sticking to the plan. He wants to find more competition through the draft and free agency -- and thats not changing simply because team owner Jim Irsay isnt around. At the team complex, Grigson said its been pretty much business-as-usual since Irsay was arrested Sunday night following a traffic stop. He faces preliminary charges of misdemeanour driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. "He leaves the football stuff to me. He trusts me. Thats what he hired me to do," Grigson said during Fridays conference call with local reporters, his first public comments since the arrest. "If theres something major, a transaction thats going to go down, or I need to use his plane in free agency, or if theres something I need to lean on him about in terms of using his football knowledge, from my benefit and the clubs benefit, then I reach out to him." Normally, in mid-March, Irsay, who once served as the Colts GM, is involved with draft preparation and signs off on any major deals. Its a lot different right now. On Tuesday, Irsays family issued a statement saying he had voluntarily checked himself into a treatment facility. The move comes more than a decade ago after Irsay acknowledged a painkiller dependency. Its unclear when Irsay will return to run the team. If Irsay is charged and convicted on the felonies, he could face six months to three years in prison on each one. Irsay also could be fined or suspended by the NFL. But its not as if Grigson doesnt have help. He usually consults with coach Chuck Pagano before making decisions and one of Irsays daughters, Carlie, also is filling in while her father is out. "Basically, Carlie is just in place of Jim, for right now," Grigson said. "Hes never been a micro manager, never has meddled or anything like that. He leaves football decisions up to myself and the head coach. Hes really been great in that respect. Carlie is going to be in his place while hes recovering." With or without Irsay, Grigson likes the direction Indianapolis is going. Before the free-agent market opened March 11, Grigson devoted much of his time trying to work out deals with his own players. Eventually, he re-signed a handful of players including punter Pat McAfee, kicker Adam Vinatieri, running back Ahmad Bradshaw and cornerback Vontae Davis. He also dipped into the free-agent pool and plucked linebacker DQwell Jackson, defensive lineman Arthur Jones, receiver Hakeem Nicks and centre Phil Costa. Grigson may not be finished, either. Last year, he nabbed receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey in April and Bradshaw in June -- a scenario that could be in play again. "We feel real good where we are at right now," Grigson said. "Of course, we are going to look toward the draft, but you never say never. We are always trying to get better." On the field, the big questions primarily surround Indys injured players. Grigson said the rehab process is on schedule for starting guard Donald Thomas (quad) and running back Vick Ballard (knee). The team has already said starting tight end Dwayne Allen (hip) is healthy, too. What about perennial Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne, who tore the ACL in his right knee in October? "Reggie is just one guy we dont have to worry about," Grigson said. "Hes kind of like that Jerry Rice type mindset. He just doesnt stop working and hes so determined. I really dont worry about him and I know Chuck doesnt. I feel like hell be ready to roll." Grigson hopes thats the case with Irsay, too. "Everyone in the building loves the man," Grigson said. "We all would run through a brick wall for him. We all just really wish him a full and complete recovery and we are all really pulling for him." Don Wells Jersey Store
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