INDIANAPOLIS – Readers of Colts.com may submit questions during the week and have a chance to have them answered during the middle of each week. Submit your question here.
Here are responses to some of the questions received recently. We thank you for your interest in the Colts.
UNDISCLOSED (from Richmond, VA) What was the reasoning for releasing Dwight Freeney and who will be playing in his position next year? Will they draft a player or get a free agent? Freeney will be highly missed from that defense.
A: Ryan Grigson said the other day that Dwight was not part of the vision for the club at the moment. It is a tough decision to make when it involves a player who accomplished as much as Dwight did. Jerry Hughes will be given a shot to step up in a potentially much larger role. Justin Hickman is a player many are not familiar with, and we will see what he can contribute. There could be some upside. There appears to be a number of defensive prospects in the draft. Free agency? We'll find out. The club is not opposed to spending if ability meets demand and dollars. Ryan said he is comfortable the 24th spot will yield help.
UNDISCLOSED (from Westfield, NC) Which pending Colts free agent has the best shot of receiving the franchise tag?
A: Don't know that we will use it this year. We have reached out to the players who are free agents so they know the club's intentions. It's probably best that it doesn't get used. I will refrain from guessing because I don't like to get into the area of contract matters. I have heard Pat McAfee's name mentioned by outside observers more than any other player.
UNDISCLOSED (from Miami, FL) I've been a huge Colts fan for a long time all the way from Miami. My concern is the running back position. Do you think it's possible to go after Eddie Lacy?
A: Lacy played in a "big-boy" league and prospered at all the right moments. With you being a self-professed 'Bama fan, I know why you liked him. I don't see us doing anything to get where he is likely to be taken. Even if we were in that spot, I don't know that is the decision we would make. It may be that you see him playing against us sometime.
UNDISCLOSED (from Miami Beach, FL) We need a corner. Do you think we'll be going after Tyrann Mathieu (the Honey Badger from) LSU?
A: We will do everything we can to bolster each position. Ryan Grigson mentioned last week that the cornerback crop at the combine was a relatively loaded area. Mathieu was a great player in his time at LSU. There are off-field issues that could nag him. Some analysts see him being taken in the third or fourth round for those reasons, although he ran a 4.5 40 yesterday at the combine. Mathieu addressed his situation at the combine, too. Mathieu said the right things, and I hope he can live up to it. He mentioned how difficult life has been without football. He said he is being as open as possible while trying to rebuild trust, and that honesty is his best friend. In full disclosure, I'm an LSU graduate. I'm pulling for him, but I'm doing so more from a human standpoint. I hope any person who has or had problems of this nature can get them corrected so a life can be straightened out. Life is too precious to not take advantage of talents, and no avenue of work waits on anyone. Geaux, Tyrann.
UNDISCLOSED (from Bakersfield, CA) I know people talk about receiver Griff Whalen, but do you know if he will play in the pre-season and if he does would he play in the regular season and if he does will he be one of the starting three receivers or be back up or switch out in between receivers?
A: Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, 'You ask a lot of questions.' I like questions, though.
Griff will have a chance to compete when the team starts spring work later this year. Being exposed to Pep Hamilton's offense at Stanford won't hurt him in the least. I'm sure he, Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener will have a retention leg up on other teammates. How things shape up from there is called competition. Griff is a good guy, and he is fun to have around. I'm sure he's a battler.
UNDISCLOSED (from Carmel, IN) Read today's story on Dwight Freeney being disappointed on no offer. He indicated he wanted to stay. If they can get him cheap can they still put an offer out even though he was released?
A: I guess anything is possible, but Ryan Grigson and Coach Pagano are heading in a direction that does not include Dwight or Austin Collie at the moment. There are tough decisions they must make in fielding a team, and that is where it stands now. I hope they both can land something elsewhere this year, and beyond.
UNDISCLOSED (from Australia) G,day mate, I am a huge Colts fan and live in Australia. Here we have a game called Aussie rules were 18 men take the field from a squad of 32 players each week. No other players are allowed to join the team through a season. In NFL do the reserve players get paid, or is it an unpaid position?
A: The game you have there is fun to watch, when you can catch it. Over here, all players are paid. No one does it without a contract. I wasn't aware of that being the case in Aussie rules. I doubt that premise ever takes root in the NFL. Thanks for following us from afar.
UNDISCLOSED (from Pottsville, PA) When does the 2013 Colts schedule come out? I heard we have a somewhat easy schedule so that way we will probably win more games than last year.
A: I would look for it around the Final Four/Master's period. That seems to be the usual time. I don't know where you heard it will be a somewhat easy schedule. I've been with the team 28 years and haven't seen one of those yet. I don't think this one will be either.
(UNDISCLOSED) Is Don Brown still on the team or has he been released due to injury?
A: Donald very much is a Colt. He has been in the building working on his own and looking good. We look forward to his return this season. Donald had some great moments of burst last year, and I think he can contribute well this year.
UNDISCLOSED (from Marion, OH) What reason did Dwight Freeney give for not signing a contract with the Colts?
A: The team did not offer Dwight a contract, and he will be able to pursue playing for another team next season. We thank him for an outstanding career and wish him the best.
UNDISCLOSED (from Fayetteville, WV) I have been a Colts fan since Johnny U days. Would you please take a look at Tavon Austin out of West Virginia, one of the best athletes in the country. He would sure look good in Colts blue.
A: Sounds like you have enjoyed watching Tavon in your area. We have our eyes peeled here looking for ways to field another solid team next season. Thanks for providing your opinion. I'm sure our people have seen him play.
UNDISCLOSED (from Ft. Myers Beach, FL) When will season ticket renewals be required? I am out of state until mid-March.
A: Invoices have been sent both electronically (in an e-mail) on February 5th and printed via US MAIL shortly thereafter. Renewal payments are due March 7th. You do not need an invoice to renew. Simply log into your account at MY COLTS ACCOUNT
Contact your CRR (Customer Relationship Representative) if you have any questions.
UNDISCLOSED (from Indianapolis) Do you think Barrett Jones or D.J. Fluker will be available at the #24 pick? If so, do you think there is a chance the Colts pick one of them?
A: I'm not sure D.J. Fluker would be around at 24. There probably is a better chance that Barrett Jones would be. There is a lot of speculation for the need to add offensive linemen. Both came from a program that is respected for on-field success and turning out individuals with good ethic and character. If we are looking in that area, I think either could work out for us. Jones said at the combine he grew up a Colts fan, mentioning Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday as reasons why. I'm sure he would like to have the same type of career Jeff had. With his makeup, he just might.
UNDISCLOSED (from New York) What players did the Colts interview at the Combine?
A: That's a great question, one I would love to know, too. There's no way I will ask. If one of our personnel guys wanted to volunteer the information, I'd be all ears. It's a matter best left alone, though. I don't fault you for asking. Interviews are key components in assessing individuals. Face time is a big thing in any job search.
UNDISCLOSED (from Indiana) Can we get the Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu)?
A: I would imagine he will be available when we have a pick or two roll around. We have said publicly we believe in second chances. I don't know if the nature of his off-field issues fit our mind-set of second chances, though.
UNDISCLOSED (from Fort Wayne, IN) I was really impressed by Andrew Luck this year with everything he had to do. Can you explain why the NFL didn't select him for rookie of the year? I'm still scratching my head on that one.
A: The NFL did not select the winner, entities that cover the league did. There are some smart voters in that process. I would never debate that, but I wish they had seen it Andrew's way, too. To me, no one did more than Andrew did, and I don't mean that as a slight to anybody else.
UNDISCLOSED (from Bakersfield, CA) Do you know how many offensive linemen the Colts will change this year since they want better protection for Andrew Luck and because our offensive line wasn't good this year?
A: Better protection is a must. I don't know how many or if at all we will have new players. I'm not as quick to dismiss what we have on roster as some others, but I think every one of our guys would say they want to play better. We have an outstanding quarterback. The offense will look a little different next year, and we have some tremendous coaches pulling those levers. Remember, protection comes from just more than linemen. If there is a need, it will be addressed.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We are having a small technical problem on our end that is keeping names of those sending questions from coming through. We are working on it. The questions (and most locations) are coming through fine. This has been the case for about two weeks. We will get it corrected, and I wanted you to know why names haven't been used in my responses as they had been before.