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Jim Irsay Sees a 'Golden Era' of Colts Football Ahead in 2020s

Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay spoke Thursday about the Carson Wentz trade and offered his outlook on what the next decade of football may look like in Indianapolis. 

The Colts began the 2020s with a playoff appearance, then a few months later traded for a quarterback the team believes can be a long-term solution at the most important position in football.

So combine the addition of Carson Wentz with the leadership of general manager Chris Ballard and coach Frank Reich, and owner and CEO Jim Irsay sees big things coming to Indianapolis in the years ahead.

"I really believe that you will see a golden era develop as we go into this decade sitting here in 2021," Irsay said Thursday. "I believe it with all my heart and soul. There's good reason to believe it. You talk to people around the league and people that know, they're going to agree with what I'm saying when they look at Chris Ballard and Frank Reich and the expectations going into this decade that we have for both of them leading the team."

The Colts officially traded two draft picks to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Wentz on Wednesday, and the 28-year-old quarterback landed in Indianapolis on Thursday. Irsay described the opportunity to acquire a "long-term answer" in Wentz as "rare," and he's certainly right about that: It's only the fourth time in the last decade a team has traded multiple first, second and/or third-round picks for a quarterback (the Rams' 2021 trade for Matthew Stafford, the Chiefs' 2013 trade for Alex Smith and the Raiders' 2011 trade for Carson Palmer are the others). 

And Irsay said his enthusiasm to see what Wentz can do in Indianapolis has only grown since the trade. 

"But I really feel that with Carson coming in, he's a veteran but he's a young veteran," Irsay said. "I tell you, the excitement in the building and talking to Frank Reich, I wish you guys could hear his voice and the things we've talked about to they point because I really don't see a lot of weaknesses in Carson's game, in his leadership and everything he brings to the table. I think they're all strengths, all a main reason he was the second pick in the draft, a main reason that he was really close to having that incredible year of being that MVP and Super Bowl champion. The injury came in, those things happened but he's healthy and he's very excited to be here, and we're excited to have him." 

The Colts have the fourth-most wins (208) in the NFL over the last two decades. There've been plenty of factors behind that consistent excellence; having Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck quarterback 178 of those victories should be noted among them. 

And Irsay believes Wentz can be a big reason why the Colts remain established as one of the NFL's most successful franchises during the 2020s. 

"I really do feel — I can't emphasize how strongly I feel — that Carson is the man for the job for the Colts at this time," Irsay said. "And believe me, there's been a lot, as you guys know with the quarterback situation that has happened over the last three years. And to get someone that I really do believe, and I do believe this, after looking at this game for 50 years and seeing guys come and go at that key position, I really think that he can be that guy that's the centerpiece and the guy that's going to be around with these teams that we put together for the next decade that give the Colts a chance for greatness. I really feel that."

Go behind the scenes to see Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz arrive in Indianapolis and spend his first day inside the team facility.

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