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Jim Irsay backs off July 4 deadline to sign Andrew Luck

By The Sports Xchange
Jim Irsay backs off July 4 deadline to sign Andrew Luck
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) fights to break free from Denver Broncos' Von Miller (58) during the second half of play at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, November 8, 2015. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- With the draft out of the way, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay hopes to get a contract deal done with quarterback Andrew Luck done as soon as possible, but backed off a bit on his earlier July 4th weekend timetable.

"Both sides believe soon the better if possible," Irsay said. "And both sides believe sooner is possible."

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He added that the July 4th deadline was more of a guideline. Irsay said a more workable completion date could be the start of training camp in late July.

"Serious talks have happened. Indications are something will happen," the owner said. "See no reason discussions can't produce a new contract before [training] camp."

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Irsay was happy with the way the Colts draft progressed with each round.

"We really feel like we made significant progress. The board was good to us," Irsay said. "(Our) Super Bowl championship run was forged by the play of our offensive line. Ecstatic board led us down that path."

--The Colts drafted four offensive linemen for the first time since the franchise moved to Indianapolis in 1983. The Colts did select five offensive linemen with 13 picks in 1980.

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--While adding an outside pass rusher was a definite need going into the draft this year, Irsay admitted that the Colts couldn't address all their issues.

"We knew coming into the draft that we weren't going to frustrate ourselves by addressing all our needs in this draft," Irsay said, adding that the team's new defensive coordinator and tweaked defensive scheme will hopefully create the necessary pressure on opposing quarterbacks this fall.

--A bit of Colts draft trivia was revealed by Irsay Sunday. He said that Indianapolis had LB Clay Matthews on 2009 first-round card with the 27th pick. Green Bay jumped ahead of the Colts after a trade with New England and took Matthews. Indianapolis wound up drafting RB Donald Brown.

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--Colts general manager Ryan Grigson worked out a deal with Green Bay in the second round, swapping positions in the round and giving Indianapolis additional picks in the fourth and seventh rounds. The Colts had entered the draft with six overall picks and ended up with eight.

"Yeah, that was something that we had discussed and wanted to accomplish was to try and acquire more picks in this draft," Grigson explained. "We did and we still got the players that we wanted."

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--After not finding what they wanted during the veteran free agency period, the Colts opted to go after additional offensive line help through the draft.

"We chose not to address [offensive line issues] in free agency. We weren't fired up with what was out there and we had to be very selective with the money we spent. We wanted [the team's veteran offensive linemen] to grow and develop. We wanted to solidify that group but we also wanted to get players [in the draft] that we think have starter ability," Grigson said.

--The Colts general manager liked the haul that his team got through the draft this year.

"Took the best guys up there [on the draft board]," Grigson said. "We're going to have a really competitive training camp at a lot of positions."

--The Colts will have a rookie mini-camp May 6-8 at the team's Indianapolis practice facility.

Indianapolis wounded up with eight total draft picks this year after a trade with Green Bay on Friday night. The Colts began the draft with six.

A closer look at the Colts' picks:

--Round 1/18 - Ryan Kelly, C, 6-4, 311, Alabama.

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Solid offensive line addition who is expected to compete for a starting job as a rookie. He was the Colts' primary target with their first pick and were pleased that he was there for the 18th pick. Was rated as the No. 1 center prospect entering the draft by many observers.

--Round 2/57 - T.J. Green, S, 6-3, 205, Clemson.

Former wide receiver who made the move to defense two years ago. Possesses outstanding speed, size and athletic skills. Still a bit raw as a defensive back but has a high upside.

--Round 3/82 - Le'Raven Clark, OT, 6-5, 316, Texas Tech.

Big, mobile offensive line prospect who is slated to make a push for a starting job at right tackle. Can play both right or left offensive tackle. Is also versatile enough to move inside.

--Round 4/116 - Hassan Ridgeway, DT, 6-3, 314, Texas.

The Colts wanted to get bigger and more physical along the interior defensive line. With the addition of Ridgeway, they may have done just that. The former Texas Longhorn has outstanding ability but needs to become more consistent.

--Round 4/125 - Antonio Morrison, ILB, 6-1, 219, Florida.

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General manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano love the potential of the former Gator inside linebacker. Good athletic skills and is a hitter. Grigson and Pagano like his physicality at the point of attack.

--Round 5/155 - Joe Haeg, OT, 6-6, 293, North Dakota State.

Former FCS standout who impressed Grigson the last two seasons with his overall play and with his leadership. Big, moves well and can be physical as a run blocker. Is expected to see most of his work as an offensive tackle.

--Round 7/239 - Trevor Bates, LB, 6-2, 245, Maine.

Colts like his motor and his ability to be a potential playmaker. Still a bit raw but will be given every chance to make the 53-man roster as a rookie. May end up on special teams in 2016.

--Round 7/248 - Austin Blythe, C/OG, 6-3, 291, Iowa.

Blythe was rated as one of the top five centers in the country prior to the draft. Solid performer for the Hawkeyes who comes from a college program known for producing quality offensive linemen. Colts were pleased that he was still available with their final pick of the draft.

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