INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay on Sunday held a press conference at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, where he discussed the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine and its place in Indianapolis as well as several items about the Colts' offseason.
Here are some top takeaways from the session with reporters, which you can listen to in its entirety above:
— The Colts are "open minded" at the quarterback position heading into a crucial offseason: First of all, Irsay echoed what head coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard had said at the end of the 2019 season — they think Jacoby Brissett did some nice things as the starting quarterback last year, and wouldn't bat an eye if he was the team's starter once again in 2020.
But with Brissett entering the last year of his contract, and with options that are going to be available at the quarterback position both in free agency and the NFL Draft, Irsay also acknowledges that the team will continue doing whatever it takes to improve, especially at the most important position on the field.
"I think that Jacoby is on the rise, and you've gotta give him time to develop," Irsay said. "I mean, we had a lot of injuries, special teams wasn't outstanding and the combination of those things and Jacoby being a starter for the first time, that's a lot to overcome."
As for the possibility of free agency, there really hasn't been an offseason in recent memory that's featured so many quality veteran quarterbacks that are set to hit the open market.
Irsay couldn't discuss specific possibilities in that regard on Sunday, but did say that "all options are on the table."
"I've never quite … seen a year when this was so unusual, if you will. It's exciting," Irsay said. "I look at as a challenge. I don't look at it as, 'Oh God, what are we gonna do?' Not at all. I see great opportunity and have strong feelings about where this football team can go this decade."
— Irsay won't be "shy in spending" for free agents, but…: It's got to be the right fit, which goes right along with Ballard's free agency philosophy since he became the Colts' general manager in 2017.
While some point to the Colts having among the most available cap space in the league this offseason as an indication that the team will undoubtedly make a splash signing or two, Irsay said that won't get in the way of his ultimate goal of sustained success; he reiterated his dream Sunday of one day becoming the first NFL franchise to win three straight Super Bowl titles.
"Chris and I talk. You guys know, I've never been shy in spending," Irsay said. "It's just a question of, and we already are, a winning playoff football team. It hurt us all this year because we felt that we could be in the championship game and be out there and that sort of thing. Obviously we beat Kansas City in Kansas City. It was tough missing T.Y. (Hilton), and Parris (Campbell) got hurt, (Eric) Ebron couldn't finish the season, that's a lot of guys and a lot of weapons not there.
"We'll see what happens this year," he continued. "I'm in it to win it. It's not that I love winning so much; I just hate losing. I just hate it. I had to make some amends in my younger days with the frustration of losing. I'm hopelessly competitive."
Irsay said that, "with Chris Ballard and Frank Reich, I know we have the right people in place."
"Unquestionably I know not only do we have All-Pros on this team, that we have Hall of Famers on this team," he said. "I'm really excited about our football team. Quenton Nelson, Darius Leonard, Bobby Okereke, who we think can be a big-time player, Pro Bowl player. We love Kenny Moore. We love the offensive line."
— Irsay is extremely passionate about the Combine remaining in Indianapolis: The NFL Scouting Combine gets underway this week for a 33rd straight year in Indianapolis, and despite rumors the past couple years that the league could be exploring the possibility of moving the event, Irsay will do his best to ensure that never happens.
"It's something that's very important to Indianapolis, and unlike a draft for instance, which lasts three days, this is an event that goes on for two weeks, almost," Irsay said. "If you talk to general managers, if you talk to head coaches, if you talk to team doctors, no one does it like we can do it here."
The advantages of keeping the Combine in Indy include the central location of the city, the medical facilities and relationships with local hospitals, the top-of-the-line facilities between Lucas Oil Stadium and the Convention Center and the abundance of nearby hotels.
While the current contract has the Combine set to remain in Indy likely through at least 2022, with a couple option years to follow, irsay said the Colts "look forward to having it for many years to come."
"It's important to us. It's a big economic impact for this city," Irsay said. "We don't take that lightly."