INDIANAPOLIS – With Indianapolis, Ryan Grigson has used almost every way possible to procure players.
Grigson has found a new avenue by nabbing free agent linebacker Josh McNary. McNary finished his collegiate career with Army in 2010, and he has spent the years since then fulfilling his service commitments.
McNary agreed to terms with the Colts on April 10 (his birthday). He signed today and was placed on the team's Reserve/Military List. McNary anticipates joining the Colts in the near future, possibly in late May when his two-year obligation technically ends.
During the past two years, McNary served as a graduate assistant coach at West Point, went through an officer's leadership course with an artillery emphasis which led him to Fort Hood, where he has served since last October.
"It's been rewarding and beneficial," said McNary, a lieutenant. "It's been an interesting experience. It's been a lot of fun. You get (military) equipment assigned to you that you're responsible for. You're responsible for looking out for and managing (men). It's a lot on your plate. It's satisfying when you do a good job."
McNary endured a position change at Houston's Clear Lake High School that caused him to look at Army. He had a couple of offers from smaller schools before choosing West Point.
McNary, 6-0, 251, is Army's all-time leader in sacks (28.0) and tackles for losses (49). He had 195 tackles, 117 solo, nine passes defensed, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
McNary is the only Army player with multiple double-digit sack seasons. He holds school records with four sacks in a game and 12.5 in a season.
McNary capped off his career with a 55-yard scoring return of a fumble in Army's 16-14 victory over SMU in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The win gave Army its first winning season since 1996 and first post-season victory since the 1985 Peach Bowl.
McNary participated in the recent regional combine in Dallas to post some numbers for evaluation and said Grigson and Chuck Pagano spoke with him personally in bringing him to Indianapolis.
"You have to sit on the seat and start pedaling," said McNary of resuming his career. "I've been doing a lot of defensive back, coverage (and) linebacker drills in general to get me moving as a football player again.
"I was still in shape, but it's a different type of shape you're in. You were required to do more endurance-based (conditioning). In football, it's more of an explosive sport. There was a little of conversion. I was surprised how quickly it came back, a seamless transition."
Grigson has gone to great lengths to find his men. In 15 months with the Colts, he has taken players from the Canadian Football League, the Arena League, the United Football League, the af2 and the Indoor Football League.
"Josh had an outstanding career at West Point," said Grigson. "His production speaks for itself, but his intangibles rival any stats. He is still fulfilling the commitment he made to serving our country, but we look forward to him wearing the horseshoe here in the near future."
McNary was honored with the 2011 East-West Shrine Game Pat Tillman Award, given to the player who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service.
He was one of five finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, which honors a player who started as a walk-on. Brandon Burlsworth was a 1999 Indianapolis draft pick who perished in a car accident within two weeks of being drafted.
McNary comes from a military family. His father, George, is a retired captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. Both his grandfathers and an uncle served in combat action.
McNary said he has aspirations to rejoin the Army in the future, but does not consider himself a longshot with Indianapolis.
"I'm confident in my own abilities," said McNary. "I'm confident in the Colts staff and what they see in me. Those two things combined, they make me pretty confident. They were eager to get me on board."