INDIANAPOLIS— The name on the trophy says “Ryan Grigson” but the Colts General Manager wanted to make it clear that there were so many more people involved to earn such an inscription.
Grigson was the overseer of it all though, and Wednesday he was presented with the Sporting News “NFL Executive of the Year" award at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
“At the end of the day it was a concerted effort by everyone involved,” Grigson said of the honor. “That’s my own family, my wife, Mr. Irsay, Chuck Pagano, Bruce Arians, all my scouts, Tom Telesco. There’s so many people I can share this award with that I’m just a piece of it.”
After being named Colts General Manager back in January, Grigson went right to work in having to make some difficult decisions with veteran Colts players.
Grigson would go on to assemble a 2012 draft class that set an NFL record with 3,108 yards from scrimmage.
Thanks to free agent signings from different avenues and some key trades, Grigson put together a roster that would prove outside critics wrong with an 11-5 regular season.
The nine-win improvement was the third largest jump in NFL history and the Colts became just the third team in league history to make the playoffs one year after having a 2-14 record or worse.
“It’s extremely rewarding and a little bit surreal,” Grigson said of being named Executive of the Year. “We are just every day trying to get better so it’s hard to stop and smell the roses for anything. But you have to at least respect an award like this because I get hit with a harsh reality when I look at the people who won the award before and just that it’s named after George Young (5-time Executive of the Year and 3-time Super Bowl winner).
“That’s real humbling.”
Sporting News writer Mike DeCourcy presented Grigson with the Executive of the Year Award on Wednesday.
The accolades that Grigson achieved in 2012 was in itself worthy of the award but doing it all in his first year as an NFL GM is what really sold DeCourcy.
“(Grigson) walks right in and has to make one of the most difficult decisions that any GM could ever make,” DeCourcy said. “To go through all that and then to be all of a sudden be in a situation where you draft a number of productive players, and then make the playoffs; along the way, you have to cope with your head coach becoming ill, putting the right person in charge during his absence, making sure that flows and works and people respect Bruce (Arians).
“There’s so many challenges that he faced as a rookie. That’s the most amazing thing. The executives in the league recognize that very few people have had to cope with all that he had to cope with in one season, let alone do it in his first season.”
Following Wednesday’s presentation, it was back to work for Grigson as the GM orchestrated yet another trade later that afternoon.
It was a brief smell of the roses for a man that isn’t done building what he started back in January 2012.
“(2012) was a challenging year in anyone’s book, but Ryan is one of the hardest workers I know, and his dedication paid off,” Colts Owner Jim Irsay said earlier this year.
“We knew we had someone special when we hired Ryan a year ago, and he is extremely deserving of this honor.”