WESTFIELD, Ind. — In getting contract extensions done through the 2026 season done with general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich this week, Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay locked in two men in whom he has a deep, strong conviction.
"I was excited to be able to give us that sort of stability," Irsay said. "They're outstanding men in our community, they're the type of men that our players can look up to and truly see as mentors where they know their feet go where their words go. That means a lot to me."
Irsay praised Ballard and Reich as "principled" but "open-minded" leaders, and committing to both for the long-term made a statement about the "continuity and longevity" of what both have built over the last few years.
"It was important to me that we had some length to this," Irsay said. "I could've waited a little longer and that sort of things but I really feel strongly about both men that it was a great time to get it done."
Irsay's expectations in the coming decade are high, and he believes behind Ballard and Reich the Colts are set up to win both now and into the future.
"In professional football it's about winning in the end. You have to have that component to get it done. And I believe each man does," Irsay said. "You guys have to remember, when you bring in two people like Frank and Chris who had never been general manager-head coach before, you invest in their growth. You invest in the fact they're going to mature and become better than they were when they started. And you really want to see— that's what continuity does, it brings the day where you can read the growth of a person's professional track as they grow."
"You Have To Be Right"
Irsay also relayed a conversation he had with Carson Wentz following the quarterback's Aug. 2 foot procedure.
"In talking to Carson, I told him, look, you have to be right. We want you 100 percent," Irsay said. "Don't rush it back. I know he's such a competitor and he wants to be there for his team, but he has to help us all by only coming back when he's ready. Because we want to see him healthy for two months and two years and four years, and do those sorts of things that you see the great players that are at the Hall of Fame, they're there because they could stay on the field. And Carson does everything he can to stay on the field, he's such a tough competitor. You just want to see him ready when he comes back. If that's Seattle, so be it. If it's not, it's when he's ready. And no one can tell that for sure."
Irsay also relayed the same message to left guard Quenton Nelson, who underwent the same procedure Wentz did on Aug. 3.
If Wentz is not back for Week 1, though, Irsay expressed confidence in quarterbacks Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger — partly because of their talent, and partly because of who's coaching them.
"No man better for the job than Frank to coordinate an offense if he has to go with a rookie quarterback," Irsay said.