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Colts GM ready to chase free agents who can help

Colts GM ready to chase free agents who can help

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Now that general manager Ryan Grigson has money to spend in free agency, he's devising a new game plan.

If he can find a big-named, high-priced free agent that could get Indianapolis to the Super Bowl, he's willing to pay top dollar. If he can find a lesser-known player for a bargain, he's willing to roll the dice, too.

Either way, Grigson finally has the flexibility to do whatever it takes to make the 2013 Colts better than they were last season.

``I don't have to rub two nickels together to find a key position. Now, if there's something that I really want that I feel is going to get us over the hump in a certain area, I could at least take a crack at him,'' Grigson told a small group of reporters Tuesday at the team complex. ``I feel almost in a sense like I don't want to go after a name just because that's easy. There's guys out there, that to me, that if you really scout this league and you really know this league, you can find guys that are under the radar that are right under people's noses, just because you dig a little harder and you have a better feel for some guys than the next team does.''

It's a far cry from the financial mess Grigson inherited when team owner Jim Irsay hired him last January.

Indy wound up releasing Peyton Manning, cutting a handful of other fan favorites and letting several other key contributors leave in free agency just to scrape enough money together to start rebuilding. Then Grigson had to go bargain-shopping to fill in the gaps, all the while looking ahead to Year 2 as the season Indy could make the big jump.

Somehow, though, Grigson cobbled together a unit that went 11-5 and wound up in the playoffs.

Now, he's going back to work with an opportunity to give Andrew Luck & Co. more talent. Indy heads into this offseason with 58 players already signed to contracts and more than $40 million available under a salary cap that is expected to come in at about $121 million

With that much available room, Grigson can go after almost any player he covets in free agency - even if he's not ready to say what he'll do.

Grigson declined to identify specific plans, players or areas he hopes to improve in free agency though it is widely believed the two areas Indy will try to upgrade are the offensive line, which allowed 41 sacks, and a secondary that continually gave up 100-yard games to receivers throughout the second half of the season.

``Andrew has to get hit less, we know that,'' said Grigson, a former offensive lineman. ``Andrew took a lot of shots this year but also keep this in mind, and I say this with a lot of conviction, there was only I believe four games this year where our starting offensive line played together. How can you have a cohesive unit?''

The list of offensive tackles that could be available in free agency includes Jermon Bushrod, Ryan Clady, Jake Long and Andre Smith. Cornerbacks such as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Cary Williams also could become free agents.

Grigson always has the draft, too, something that seems to be looking better by the week.

On Tuesday, Grigson acknowledged that the Colts will keep two conditional picks they originally traded to Philadelphia and Miami during the preseason, and that he's hoping to get some additional supplemental picks, after losing Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon, Jeff Saturday and Jacob Tamme in free agency last year.

That's not all.

Grigson also confirmed that the Colts are in strong pursuit of 300-pound defensive tackle Armond Armstead, who has been playing in the Canadian Football League.

``He was here on a visit, he's a talented guy, I feel he fits this defense nice and had some versatility with this defense,'' Grigson said.

Irsay is content to let Grigson do pretty much whatever he deems necessary to make Indy a Super Bowl contender.

``It's going to be an exciting offseason,'' Irsay said. ``Ryan really understands how in putting a team together you don't just go to the board and pick a player. He has a naturally intuitive ability to see how all the components come together and complement each other.''

And for Grigson, who is still trying to figure out whether Bruce Arians will be back as offensive coordinator and who will coach special teams next season, he can't wait to get started on what could be Indy's biggest move into free agency in years.

``I feel confident that we are going to be able to sign some guys that may not be household names, but they are going to fit really well, they are going to play Colts football for 60 minutes and they are going to do their job at a high level, despite not being maybe that splash name,'' Grigson said.

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Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram were at a loss for words when discussing the death of Kobe Bryant

Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram were at a loss for words when discussing the death of Kobe Bryant

The world mourned the death of a legend Sunday afternoon when the news of Kobe Bryant's death broke.

The timing of the tragedy coincided with the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl, where the NFL's best and brightest were informed of the news.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was emotional when discussing Bryant's passing.

Jackson talked about looking up to Bryant and about how the latter gave him an autographed jersey when he was drafted.

Mark Ingram detailed the reaction in the locker room, saying that it was "devastating" and that "you almost didn't really want to come play.

"The world lost a great one today," Ingram added. "He impacted many, many lives. People he didn't even know."

Nine people reportedly lost their lives in the unspeakable tragedy. They will not be forgotten.

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Lamar Jackson wins Pro Bowl Offensive MVP as AFC beats NFC

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Lamar Jackson wins Pro Bowl Offensive MVP as AFC beats NFC

The Ravens were the most represented team at the Pro Bowl, so it was only fitting two of the biggest contributors were from Baltimore, too. 

Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews combined for three touchdowns as the AFC beat the NFC 38-33 in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Orlando. 

Jackson was named Pro Bowl Offensive MVP in just the first Pro Bowl of his young career. 

In addition to the 12 players that were selected from the NFL’s top regular season team, the AFC was coached by Baltimore’s coaching staff. 

Mourning Kobe Bryant

The Pro Bowl’s priority in the grand scheme of things took a backseat Sunday afternoon after NBA legend Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash in California. He was 41 years old.

Ravens players tweeted their condolences after news of his death broke and the sports world slowed to honor Bryant.

Jackson was interviewed by ESPN’s Lisa Salters during the game, where he spoke highly of Bryant’s career. 

"That's a legend, man,” Jackson said. “He did so much for the game of basketball. A lot of people looked up to Kobe Bryant, including myself. From what I heard, he was a great person as well. My prayers are with his family."

Lamar Starts

The second-year quarterback had a strong outing in his first ever Pro Bowl appearance. 

Jackson finished 16-of-23 for 185 yards through the air with two touchdowns and an interception. He added six yards on the ground on just two carries. 

His two touchdown passes were tied for a game-high as he played for a majority of the first half. 

For his day, he won Pro Bowl Offensive MVP. It almost assuredly won’t be his only MVP from the 2019 season. 

Other Ravens In Action

But it wasn’t just Jackson that saw the field for the Ravens. 

Andrews finished the game with a game-high nine receptions for 73 yards -- a team high. He also caught a touchdown pass from Jackson in the second quarter. 

Mark Ingram led all players on the ground with 31 yards on five carries, with the help of three of his offensive linemen: Ronnie Stanley, Marshal Yanda and Orlando Brown Jr. 

Defensively, Marlon Humphrey had three tackles, Earl Thomas had two and Matthew Judon added one as well. 

Late in the fourth quarter, Thomas intercepted a pass on the Pro Bowl’s new onside kick rule, which replaces a standard onside kick with a 4th-and-15 play. Thomas then lateraled the ball to Humphrey, who pitched it to Judon before the play was whistled dead.

Justin Tucker added a first half 50-yard field goal, too, as the Ravens made sure they were well-known at the Pro Bowl.