COLTS PRESIDENT BILL POLIAN (Opening Remarks on WR-Marvin Harrison departure) * *
"This is a sad day for the Colts, a sad day for Colts fans, a sad day for me personally and for many others in this building who have come to know and like Marvin Harrison so much. Marvin and I talked Saturday night—I think it was Saturday night—and we talked at length about all of the things that he had accomplished here, about our personal friendship. He reminded me of my going to Syracuse and working him out. He remembered that. That was to this day the most amazing workout I've ever seen by a wide receiver, maybe by an athlete, and then he mentioned that it worked out that we weren't able to get together then, we weren't able to draft him then, as I was in Carolina, but pretty soon we were together here. I've always treasured the time that I've had with him, the personal time, because I respected him so much as a person. (Colts Owner and CEO) Jim (Irsay) alluded to the fact that he worked so hard on his craft. He was always so prepared. He did every little thing it took to win in the National Football League and to become a great player and to build on that great God-given ability that he had. And he did it with quiet dignity, with superb professionalism and with a sense of contribution to the team that really is second to none. He is a Hall of Famer, no question. The numbers alone indicate that. But for those of us who had the pleasure of being around him, there's no question that he's the transcendent receiver of this generation, and most importantly I think the thing that makes you so proud to be associated with him is that he did it on the field. He didn't need anything else to validate his greatness. All you had to do was turn on the tape, turn on the television set or be in the stadium and see him play and you knew that you were in the presence of an all-timer. I'll never forget the catch that he made at Tennessee which in my mind is the signature catch of his career, where he completed the long-ball and reached out while suspended in the air and caught the ball with one hand and got a critical first down and then waived everybody to come on down. That was quintessential Marvin. When we talked he indicated that he did not want to come back for this kind of an event, and we certainly appreciated that and that's entirely consistent with his personality and the way he conducts himself. I emphasized to him, and I know Jim (Irsay) re-emphasized it today that we hope that he will be back here—and we know he'll be back here, he's looking forward to it—at some time in the future to be recognized formally and to go on the Ring of Honor and to have the fans recognize finally his contributions to this club and have him retire as a Colt. He takes his place with Raymond Berry as the two greatest receivers in this club's history. I know he wants to continue to play, and we're supportive of that and were from the outset. Jim (Irsay) and I talked at length about how to handle this process and we agreed that we would talk separately with Marvin. We agreed that if he wished to be released that that would be okay with us and we would support that. I hope that his playing career doesn't go too much longer, at least selfishly, because I want to be around to see him inducted into Canton. As I said, it's a sad day in the sense that you never like to see a player of Marvin's stature leave, but I was gratified for him that he got a chance to be alone in the record book as the number two receiver of all-time, do that in front of our fans here in Indianapolis and receive from them and from his teammates and from all of us the warm applause and congratulations for a stellar and exemplary career. We've been fortunate to be able to watch him all these years and we wish him nothing but the best in all the years to come."
COLTS PRESIDENT BILL POLIAN (on if WR-Marvin Harrison could come back via free agency)
"We'll see what the future holds. I can't predict the future. In talking with Marvin and talking to Tom Condon it was clear because of the salary cap issues that we face that no one wanted to get into a situation where we were forcing Marvin to take a Draconian cut in pay which would be, in many respects, demeaning to him, a player of his stature. Let's see what the future holds. We've made it clear how we feel about Marvin. He may feel that the change of scenery may be a good thing. We'll see. I can't predict the future. We'll just let it take shape as it goes."
COLTS PRESIDENT BILL POLIAN (on if WR-Marvin Harrison has been released today)
"No, he has not. The waiver wire is effective at 4:00 p.m., so the release won't appear on the wire until tomorrow. We've sent the documentation but it went after 4:00 p.m., so officially it will happen tomorrow."
COLTS PRESIDENT BILL POLIAN (on why the Colts couldn't afford Harrison's current deal)
"His current cap number is too much for us to afford, given the fact we are up against a cap that has new rules relative to the last capped year which we're entering. Essentially, those new rules create difficulty for us. For eleven years we've managed the cap and never had a problem with cap issues. Quite honestly, we did not see this day coming soon enough to plan for it. This was not an expected situation. When these rules became apparent, it became apparent to us internally as Jim (Irsay) alluded to that this was going to be a number that was very hard to live with. In addition, his acceleration or any acceleration that would accrue by a reworking of the contract would count this year. You can't push it over into next year. So you were in a box where you couldn't live with the cap number and you could not rework the contract in any meaningful way to make sure that it fit. We were in a bind. We were hoping against hope to maybe be able to do something, but in the end when we crunched all the numbers it just didn't work. It's really that simple. It's really a function of the last capped year and the special rules that go into effect in that area."
COLTS PRESIDENT BILL POLIAN (on if this changes the Colts' approach in the draft)
"I'll never get another Marvin as long as I live. We knew that this day would come. We hoped that it wouldn't, but in reality you have to know it comes eventually. This doesn't alter our plans measurably. I think Anthony Gonzalez will step in and do a fine job. There will never be another Marvin."