Colts President Bill Polian Likes What He Sees From 80-Man Roster
INDIANAPOLIS – Bill Polian likes what he sees.
What he must do in the coming weeks he likes substantially less.
Polian, entering his 11th season as the Colts' President, said he very much likes the team's roster as it stands with a week remaining in the team's organized training activities.
"In a general sense, it's probably as good an 80-man roster as we've had since I've been here," Polian said Tuesday.
But he reiterated this week his dislike of a new NFL rule limiting training camp rosters to 80 players, and said had he known the rule would be in place, the Colts' preseason schedule likely would look a bit different.
"I regret tremendously agreeing to the fifth preseason game," Polian said. "Had I known it was going to be 80 men, there's no way I would ever have done it."
The Colts will play the Washington Redskins in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on Sunday, August 3, giving them five preseason games rather than the usual four.
Polian said he agreed to play the game because the Colts will have young players on the roster – particularly along the offensive line, where the team selected guard Mike Pollak, center Steve Justice and guard Jamey Richard in the April NFL Draft – who can benefit from the extra playing opunities.
But this offseason, the NFL instituted a rule mandating that teams can bring only 80 players to camp. In past seasons, with roster exemptions, teams have been able to bring 85-to-88 players to camp in some situations.
The Colts currently have between 85-90 players on the roster, including unsigned draft selections, which Polian said means the Colts will have to release players before camp opens at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., in late July.
Polian called that prospect, "Very tough, because there are certain positions where we're going to cut a good football player, but you just have to do it.
"Our hope is most of them stay out there, so when injury occurs you can bring them back," he added. "That's why we bring as many as we do to this summer school process, so we have people who know our system and are familiar with it and we can bring them back if and when we have injuries at training camp."
Dealing with training-camp injuries, Polian said, becomes a more difficult task under the new rule, particularly when a fifth preseason game is added.
"With all respect to the Hall of Fame, it just doesn't make any sense," he said. "But it is what it is, so we have to try to manage it and hope that Lady Luck smiles on us in terms of injuries."
And while Polian said the team will have to trim players before camp, he said there likely won't be major changes before reporting to Rose-Hulman.
"I never say never, but we're not toying with it," Polian said. "We think what we've got here is pretty darned good."
Polian also said while the team hadn't ruled out acquiring free-agent linebacker Rosevelt Colvin, he said, "There's nothing imminent there.
"We're going to let the training camp situation develop and we'll see what happens injury-wise," he said. "We'll see what happens from the standpoint of emergence, then we'll take it from there."