Indianapolis Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay was available Thurdsay at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in a general media session. Below are some of the topics covered in the session from media covering the Colts:


COLTS OWNER AND CEO JIM IRSAY (on where things stand on the contract with QB-Peyton Manning and if the team franchising him this week was a good or bad sign of the state of the negotiations) "Last time, we ended up tagging him and then we got a deal done in the mid-part of the decade. It's not unusual. I think negotiations are on-going. They are going well. My feeling is something will get done, in terms of getting a long-term deal done. I've said before the framework is out there. Obviously (New England QB-Tom) Brady and him have been compared to each other through the years and are kind of bound at the hip, in terms of what they've done and all that sort of thing. That contract is done. I've made an offer higher than that contract, and I just anticipate it getting done. I think that we're aware, as well as Peyton is aware, that you have to pay other players. You have to be able to continually keep and get excellent players to surround him. So the number when it finally does get done, whatever it will be, is pretty much out there with Brady being done and nobody else really on the horizon, so-to-speak. I think the framework is there to get something done. I anticipate something getting done for the long-term."

(on if the contract with QB-Peyton Manning needs to get done before the lockout) "I don't think it's an issue. I would like to see something get done before then, but again there are two sides in the negotiation, so either side can only go as fast as the other side. The sooner, the better, yes, but if it doesn't get done before then we can do something in the summer before camp or whatever."

(on his thoughts on Indiana SB 292) "My main thoughts on it is that we want to be able to make sure the CIB (Capital Improvement Board) can do gun checks at our game. It's stated on the ticket that you can't bring a firearm into the game, and our main thing is we want the CIB to be able to ensure that and conduct the checks they need to do, so our games remain without fans having firearms during them."

(on if it his understanding that if the bill passes the CIB will not be able to conduct these checks) "My understanding is that no, the CIB will be prohibited from doing that. That's the narrow alley of our concern. We want them to be able to do the checks and ensure that, and this bill would prohibit that. That's the part we are focused on."

(on what his concern is with gun owners bringing guns into Lucas Oil Stadium) "The concern is that at a private event – which this is, we pay rent to play in the building, and when we're having this event it's not open to the public, we sell tickets – just to ensure the safety of our fans and to make sure people know where there is alcohol being sold, where you have an event of high emotions and all those sort of things. Again, it's not taking an issue of bearing firearms and that sort of thing. It's about just at the event, families knowing that people aren't carrying weapons into the game."

(on how long of a contract is he willing to give QB-Peyton Manning at this stage of his career)
"I think that can vary. I think six years is certainly a possibility, five or six years. It always depends on how the negotiations go at this point. There is not a definitive number that I'm stuck on. I think you don't know how much longer he can play. You hope that it's five years, maybe six years. Until you get longer down the road, it's really uncertain to know exactly how long he can play at a really high level. We hope it can be a long time, and he can break (QB-Brett) Favre's record and that we can win Super Bowls and continue to do that and have him play in the early 40s. But only time will tell."

(on the contract status of RB-Joseph Addai and WR-Reggie Wayne) "I think that in terms of how we're shaping our roster as we go up to March 3, we'll see if we have any more announcements, in terms of players and that sort of thing, whether they sign an extension or whether we release someone."

(on if there has been a decision on DB-Bob Sanders) "We haven't yet, but before March 3 I think we will probably have some sense on that direction. Again, there's nothing definitive, I think. I think we've talked through a lot of different scenarios. We can't say at this point definitely what direction we're going there, but I think that we're going to try to get to a decision in the next few days before March 3."

(on making preparations for a lockout) "We really try to prepare for everything, but also make sure we're following whatever rules that are in place. It's something that we're definitely looking at all scenarios so we're ready."

(on the teams being most prepared being those that come out of a possible lockout the best)
"No question. When we played the strike games, we had a good team. We were organized. We were 2-1 and possibly made the difference in winning the division in '87. So you want to be prepared. We've been through it before. Certainly (Colts President) Bill Polian and I have. So it's good to have been through all the decades and have seen this stuff in the '80s because like I said, you'd be surprised in owners meetings right now when I look around the room, there's literally probably six or seven people that are left from the mid-'80s that are around during it. There's just not many people left in the room (from then) and most owners have never been around it at all. So it's a different environment that's for sure."

(on as an owner of a smaller-market team, how strongly does he feel that the owners need a larger share of the league revenue) "Well again, on revenue sharing and those sorts of things, it's something that you we continue to work on. It's obviously critical to the Green Bays, the Indianapolises, the Pittsburghs, to have revenue sharing. It's been a big component of our league. It's always a concern. It's something that you look at and continue to address, and that will be certainly something part of getting a new agreement and going forward. So you always keep an eye on that because that's something that's allowed people and small market people like Indianapolis, Green Bay, Pittsburgh to be so competitive."

(on if SB 292 passes, what the team will do from there) "I think ensuring the safety of our fans is always going to be paramount, so I don't want to deal in hypotheticals and that sort of thing, but obviously fan safety is the number one thing that you go into a game looking at. We'll make sure we fight hard for that, and I think reasonable people will understand what our concerns are and where the feelings of families and everyone else is in going not just Colts games, but Pacers and Indians, and going into the convention center and that sort of thing."

(on if the team has entered into negotiations with K-Adam Vinatieri) "We are talking, and I think it's something that we feel and Adam feels he's still kicking really well. He's not handling kickoffs, so that can lengthen his career. So we would, we would like to get something done with Adam, and we've had some talks. If that can happen before March 3, I'm not sure on that yet, but we would like to keep Adam and feel he still has several good years left."

(on if the Colts have any options to restrict SB 292) "The way the bill is currently drafted, as passed by the Senate and being considered by the House of Representatives, yes, there is an absolute prohibition against the CIB enforcing our very reasonable and legitimate concerns of people bringing firearms into the stadium. We have to rely upon the CIB to effectuate all of our security at the games, and if there is a restriction on their ability to do so, we have very legitimate and reasonable concerns about that."

(on if he has spoken to the NFL about this situation) "I'm not going to get into the back channel discussions we have. This is a state issue."

(on if it has an effect on the Super Bowl and people bringing guns into the Super Bowl)"The way the bill is currently drafted, yes, it does. There is no exception for the Super Bowl or Colts games or Pacers games or Indians games or events at the Convention Center. It's an overreach."

(on the NFL having national security and federal officials involved with security for the Super Bowl) "Not the way I read that bill. The Super Bowl is not expressly carved out of that bill. There is an absolute restriction on the CIB."

(on if this bill puts fans at danger) "As Jim (Irsay) said, we have concerns. Our fans might very well have legitimate concerns about the convergence of the emotions of the game with alcohol and firearms. Human beings are human beings and strange things can happen. We don't want our fans to have any real concerns in the backs of their heads that something untoward might happen. We're not making a comment on the second amendment. Heck, I'm a member of the NRA myself, but this is our need to be able to protect our events."

(on regarding SB 292 and if the ticket holder enters into a contract when buying the ticket and its rules stated on the ticket) "That's an astute question, and you're exactly right. We do have a contract with each ticket holder pursuant to which the ticket holder agrees that he or she will not bring a firearm or noisemaker or the other assorted things that are prohibited into the stadium. The problem is, the practical problem is we don't enforce that. We rely upon the CIB and their hired security people enforce that. We don't have security people. We don't have (Vice President of Ticket Operations/Guest Services) Larry Hall or (Chief Operating Officer) Pete Ward out there frisking fans as they come in. So consequently, pursuant to our agreement with the CIB, they perform the security function and they are the ones who have to enforce and execute on that promise."

(on if the Colts could go with their own security firm on gamedays) "Not pursuant to our lease with the CIB. The CIB has agreed to perform all the security functions of that sort, and they do a fine job and we just want to be able to rely upon them to continue to do so."

(on what options the team is exploring regarding SB 292) "We really are taking our cue from the CIB. The CIB is taking the issue very, very seriously. They have had extensive conversations with representatives of both houses, and we're confident this is going to get sorted out and once people think it through they will realize, 'Well, maybe we bit off a little bit more than we really wanted to,' and we can re-write things or carve out an appropriate exception or something along those lines. At this point I'm not losing a lot of sleep over this. I think people of good faith are going to look at this and realize that we don't want people carrying firearms into Conseco Fieldhouse or Lucas Oil Stadium."

(on if there has ever been a bill similar to SB 292) "Not that I'm aware of, and I'm not aware of this issue being raised anywhere else at any other NFL venue."

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