Last January, Colts GM Ryan Grigson fired off an email to the NFL before the AFC Championship in which he proclaimed that, "All the Indianapolis Colts want is a completely level playing field.”
Grigson closed his email to the league’s operations people by cooing, "Thank you for being vigilant stewards of that not only for us but for the shield and overall integrity of our game."
On Sunday, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported that Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck is dealing with multiple broken ribs. The rib injury has not been disclosed by the Colts on injury reports this season.
A couple of hours after the report, Grigson issued a statement saying, “Our injury reports are accurate. If people have any questions about player injuries, they should refer to our injury reports.”
Better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.
If Luck does indeed have broken ribs – and Glazer’s rarely incorrect – disclosing that fact on the injury report wasn’t optional based on whether or not the rib injury was limiting Luck in practice (and how could they not).
As Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk pointed out, the league’s injury reporting policy reads thusly:
“All players with significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players and those players whose injuries have been covered extensively by the media. This policy is of paramount importance in maintaining the integrity of the game.
“The intent of the policy is to provide a full and complete rendering of player availability,” the policy states. “Should disputes arise with regards to compliance with this policy, it will be incumbent upon clubs to demonstrate that they have acted in a manner consistent with the intent of the policy.”
So it doesn’t matter if Luck was limited in practice or not. And the Colts will have to “demonstrate that they have acted in a manner consistent with the intent of the policy."
The Jets got fined back in 2009 for not disclosing on their injury report the torn biceps tendon Brett Favre was playing with in 2008. Even though Favre was visibly impaired by an arm injury at the tail end of the season and the injury was reported by ESPN on December 30, the NFL did nothing to penalize the Jets until the following September. The reason? Favre – then a member of the Vikings – started blabbing about how he played a big chunk of the previous year with a torn biceps.
When the NFL finally was moved to act by Favre’s loose lips, it punished the Jets with a modest $75,000 team fine and fines of $25K each for their 2008 head coach and GM, Eric Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum.
The Jets have continued to enjoy the league’s benefit of the doubt when it comes to penalties, though. The team was fined just $100,000 for owner Woody Johnson’s comments last December about wanting Darrelle Revis – who was under contract with the Patriots for 2015 – to return to the Jets. Revis was released by the Patriots in March when the team and Revis couldn’t work out a contract extension and Revis returned to the Jets.
The Lions and 49ers suffered draft pick penalties for tampering infractions in previous years.
If the Colts get the same cozy treatment the Park Avenue Jets usually receive, we’ll know Grigson’s effort to ingratiate himself with “the shield” worked like a charm.