INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts just can't escape the Peyton Manning questions.
Even on a day the team hired four new assistant coaches for Chuck Pagano's staff, the Manning saga was still causing a stir. With a US$28 million decision looming next month, new general manager Ryan Grigson acknowledged that the Colts couldn't afford to make a mistake based solely on sentimental reasons.
"You can't do things to where you are going to hurt the whole franchise with other decisions that you know might hurt at the moment, but in the end they help the sum of the parts," Grigson said. "It is a tough deal in this business, and it happens at every position, it happens with coaching, it happens with people in personnel and it is completely part of the process and the business."
The next twist came a few hours later when ESPN reported that Manning had been "cleared to play" by the doctor who performed Sept. 8 neck surgery on the quarterback. A team spokesman said the Colts' own doctors had not yet cleared Manning, though ESPN cited an unidentified source in reporting that Dr. Hank Feuer, one of the team's neurosurgeons, was one of those checked Manning.
Manning has been throwing since at least early December and told reporters Tuesday that he threw to several receivers that day.
Colts owner Jim Irsay and Manning are scheduled to meet again next week.
It's been a chaotic four weeks in Indy.
Last month, the Colts fired vice chairman Bill Polian, general manager Chris Polian, coach Jim Caldwell and most of Caldwell's assistants. They also hired the 39-year-old Grigson and first-time head coach Chuck Pagano.
Now they're trying to fill the remaining holes. Grigson announced Thursday that the Colts had hired Greg Manusky as defensive co-ordinator, Roy Anderson as the secondary coach in charge of safeties and Marwan Maalouf as special teams coach Thursday. About an hour later, Pagano told reporters that Brant Boyer will assist Maalouf with the special teams.
That's not all. Grigson said former Colts offensive co-ordinator Clyde Christensen would remain on the staff probably as the quarterbacks or receivers coach.
The latest moves came two days after the Colts hired offensive co-ordinator Bruce Arians and fired two more coaches from Caldwell's staff.
"I think at the same time it was important to get the co-ordinators settled," Pagano said. "It's all going to come together, and we're going to take our time. It's not something we're going to rush."
And all this comes during a week in which the city's first Super Bowl has been upstaged by its most recognizable celebrity.
With speculation swirling about Manning's future, his presumed successor -- Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, expected to be taken by the Colts with the No. 1 pick -- came to town and told reporters he wants to start immediately.
Next up for the Colts: Filling the rest of the staff and figuring out which veterans to re-sign before free agency opens March 13.
-- The Associated Press