This week shall be remembered by Colts fans for generations. In the course of a few days the Colts released Peyton Manning along with a host of truly Classic Colts. Likewise, it appears several key free agents will be allowed to walk or retire and Dwight Freeney may even be traded. While some moves were expected, the tumultuous and sudden departure from a roster that won ten games two years ago and had championship aspirations before Manning's injury is jarring.
To say fans are excited about this "new era" promised by owner Jim Irsay and new General Manager Ryan Grigson would be misleading. Hoosiers are too civil and understated to bring the torches and pitchforks, but the front office should expect little patience from a fan base that expects to win with class. They honor and love their heroes to the point of preferring heritage, pride and loyalty to winning. It's the "class" part of winning with class that drives this state.
The owner of the Blue Crew Bar and Grill says it's now more like a museum, a restaurant filled with football relics. The jerseys that hang on the walls are suddenly throwbacks.
"I'm gonna have to redecorate the place now," said owner Randy Collins. "I got Brackett up here. I got Clark up here. I'm going to take a lot of them down soon"
Five fan favorites, were all cut by the Colts Friday: Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullitt, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai and Curtis Painter. It all comes as fans are still in mourning over Peyton Manning's departure.
The story reminded me of a Colts away game shortly after Melvin Bullitt's emergence. Bob Sanders was once again lost for the season and Bullitt's fill-in performance had some younger fans excited enough to have Bullitt jerseys made. I spotted them during pre-game and wandered over to speak with them and to get a few shots. While talking to the teens about their love for a backup defensive back a woman approached me and explained she worked with Melvin's agent. She too had spotted them and wanted to get the story as Melvin hoped to meet them. It was memorable, not because Bullitt was a great player. Rather, he played with class.
I'm not sure what I'll do with my now classic jerseys--none of them were as cool as those custom Melvin Bullitt jerseys--but I don't think I can wear them again. I feel like preserving them in some way, frozen in time like the memories I have of those wonderful seasons they shared with us as fans. The idea of never seeing these men in a Colts uniform again came too soon. Perhaps in a few years when I break them out I'll feel the same rush I had when I wore them on game day and they took the field.
Well said, Todd! I'm with you; reeling, jarring and horrific seem like very appropriate descriptions. I suspect that the people below and elsewhere who disagree have been rooting for something very different than we have for the last decade plus.
@pierrezombie I had made my peace with the fact that Manning was going to leave at some time, because everybody has to hang it up at some point. Last year meant I had to recalibrate that sooner than I had expected, but I made my peace again. The rest of the cuts are basically the same thing, just lesser. So I emotionally dealt with this on my own terms, when I had plenty of time. Now, I'm not happy, I'm sad, but I'm sure not reeling. Furthermore, I think it's unseemly to feel entitled to have my favorite players and team follow a script I have for them in my own head, or entitled to whine about it when they don't. DON'T disparage my fandom because I deal with my emotions like an adult and refuse to be a drama queen.
But I disagree that anything Todd (or I) wrote above deserves the "drama queen" label. It's just as disparaging to call fans who haven't made their peace with it drama queens as it was for me to suggest that maybe those on the other side of the issue didn't care as much in the first place.
@pierrezombie I know I was rooting for a different team last year. It was the first time in a decade I've gone a whole season without running into another Colts fan at a bar.
Colts Authority is a great fan blog and will continue to be my go to spot for news and opinions I can't get from national sports media...But, I can't wait to get to the light on the other side of the Drama Queen Tunnel that most of the Colts bloggers are operating in. Maybe this isn't so much about this article as others. While I did enjoy following all of these Colts electric careers (even Painter for a few weeks in 2011 was actually in the top 5 QBs in passer rating), they all looked pretty sad in the our darkest hour (the 2011-12 season). Clark dropping lobbed passes and Addai being shown up by Brown and Carter when not sidelined by injury. Although Bullitt had shown sparks in 2010, he was not good in 2011 before going down. Brackett could be the exception, but Angerer showed that there is a better and younger option at this point. It's true that their veteran experience could help younger players in a time of transition, but these players deserve to be tactical pieces for teams with shots at a championship. That is ultimately what proven veterans deserve in the NFL. I know that wasn't the rationale for cutting them. As for Manning, the "circumstance" argument was ultimately correct. You can blame a lot of people for that move, but it is ultimately the sum of all those situations. Why can't we blame the players getting cut? If they had won one more game, we may not be letting Manning go for Luck. If they had one two more, would Caldwell and Polian have been fired? Or switch it around. If Caldwell had done a better job of adapting and Polian made better personnel adjustments, would these Colts still be Colts? This can go on and on.
Ultimately, we've all been rightfully pissed off, yet hopeful, for months and we've been made it known. There is now way any Colts fan will lose their love of Manning and we'll be two team fans for the net 3-5 years; however, now is probably the time for a collective healing. A time to start discussing the future and turn the tired frustration into hope and support. If you don't want to do that right now, it's fine. If you want to hate Irsay and become a Bears fan then great. When you have found peace with everything, you'll be welcomed right back in. We'll save your seat for you.
Again, Colts Authority is an awesome blog and please don't give up or get too discouraged by the (incredibly) rough waters the ship is sailing through right now. Things could be a lot worse. At least we're not Cleveland fans.
@Rabbd Well said. I will root for Peyton wherever he goes. I would love to see him go to Miami so he can beat Belicheat and Rex twice a year.
I have been a Colt's fan since they came to Indy and while it is nice to have the #1 pick, we have had our share and they haven't all worked out. There was Jeff George (I think Jim Irsay was the GM). And then we had the 1st two picks when we picked Steve Emtman and Quentin C. There is never a guarantee. The thing that worries me is that they have blown up this team and it does not look like Luck is going to have much talent around him. I will reserve judgment to see how they do in the draft and free agency. Grigson has a lot to prove and I don't think he is going to create a winner by just creating cap space for next year. This was the year to have cap space with all the FA's. I'm not sure who might be available next year.
I'm a Colts fan and I'm not reeling. Rather, I am looking forward to a new beginning. Look at how much money Irsay paid last year to the five new cuts plus Peyton to not play well or not play at all. Thanks for the memories, but let's move on.
I have a bunch of autographs hanging in my man cave. Addai, Stokely, Sanders, Freeney, June, Brackett, Rhodes, Saturday, Bullitt....all gone. My man cave is so depressing right now.
Curtis Painter is not and never was this fans favorite! Always hated life when he came onto the field...
@NateDunlevy I realized yesterday that now ALL my Colts jerseys are retro jerseys: 18x2, 88, & 44. Wow.