Indianapolis Colts: John Boyett

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has a problem. That became official when he packed up some of his belongings and entered an out-of-state rehabilitation facility March 18 in an attempt to conquer his demons head-on.

Irsay's admittance perhaps answers questions about why his physique was frail, why his hands constantly shook and why he often lost his train of thought the few times I spoke to him last season.

[+] EnlargeJim Irsay
AP Photo/Carolyn KasterJim Irsay can make a positive difference with those in similar circumstances if he battles his demons successfully.
Now everybody wonders: Can Irsay, who discussed his substance abuse history in 2012, leave his addiction behind for good once he shakes hands, gives hugs and waves goodbye to those at the facility when he's cleared to leave?

It won't be easy, but it will be necessary in order for Irsay to continue to run the franchise and, more importantly, continue to live.

One of the first things he should do once he gets out of rehab is admit he has embarrassed the franchise, the same franchise that's one of the models in the NFL. The same one in which they talk about only wanting those who are proud of being a part of the horseshoe.

Irsay is one of the people who is supposed to lead by example, not join the likes of former Colts John Boyett and Joe Lefeged on police reports.

For the two Super Bowl appearances the Colts made in the past decade, the Hall of Fame numbers Peyton Manning put up and the bright future Andrew Luck promises for the organization, the spring of 2014 is one that won't be forgotten.

It'll continue to linger until Irsay's family members, those inside the organization and the blue and white faithful see that he's finally clean, and until the NFL figures out how it's going to punish him.

Irsay is the seventh Colts player or front-office official arrested since January 2010. That number is low when you compare it to the rest of the NFL landscape, but it's a high number from the standpoint that the organization had only 10 players arrested in the 11 years prior to 2010. The Colts also had two players -- receiver LaVon Brazill and tight end Weslye Saunders -- suspended for the first four and eight games, respectively, last season for not following the league's substance-abuse policies.

The Colts' organization is supporting its boss. That's what you would expect to be done for a genuinely nice man who also happens to be the one responsible for paying them. They simply want Irsay to clean up his act.

"It was tough seeing that," former Colts linebacker Gary Brackett said. "It's something he struggled with awhile before. I'd like to see him getting some help. He made an irresponsible decision, so I'm sure there will be some ramifications, and hopefully he can turn things around."

Irsay has the money (he's worth an estimated $1.6 billion) to make a difference not only for himself, but for others. As he has proven, substance addiction is not easy to overcome. He has battled pain pill addiction long before his latest arrest. Once clean -- hopefully sooner than later -- Irsay and his outgoing personality can become a public figure in helping those who have a daily struggle of drug and alcohol addiction. Since 2003, there have been more overdoses involving painkillers than heroin and cocaine combined, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will discipline Irsay, likely with some combination of fine and suspension. You can count on that. He's waiting "to understand the facts" before making a decision.

The last thing Goodell will do is let Irsay off with a light slap on the wrist. Anybody with any association in the NFL -- past, present and future -- will be paying attention to Goodell's actions because the rules apply to league and team personnel.

But what about Boyett?

He was released just days after he was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, public intoxication and resisting law enforcement in downtown Indianapolis in September.

What about the next time a Colts player gets arrested? Will Irsay make a snap decision and give general manager Ryan Grigson the green light to release the player? Or will Irsay show compassion after what he has gone through?

Irsay has every right to do what he wants with his players because it is his team and his money, but he likely won't be able to do it without having somewhat of a guilty conscious, depending on the infraction committed, without thinking about the spring of 2014.

The first step for Irsay is to get clean, then apologize for embarrassing his franchise and the city it plays in and reach out to help others who continue to fight this addiction.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. didn’t give the Indianapolis Colts a high grade for their 2013 class. He gave them a C-plus. Kiper decided to re-grade each team now that the season is complete minus the Super Bowl.

And to no surprise, Kiper gave the Colts an even lower grade than he did last year. He said their draft class performed at a C-minus level.

Kiper wrote that first-round pick, rushing linebacker Bjoern Werner, was on the field for about 30 percent of the defensive snaps and he “didn’t give the Colts much of a pass rush when he did play.”

I think Kiper is being too kind. I would have given them no higher than a D-plus. That group of players did not have an impact on the season.

Kiper also noted that trading away the first-round pick to get running back Trent Richardson will hurt the Colts in this year’s draft.

Here's a breakdown of the 2013 draft picks from a post I did earlier this week:
LB Bjoern Werner: 18 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three passes defended

OL Hugh Thornton: Forced into the starting lineup because of the season-ending injury to Donald Thomas in Week 2. Thornton started 12 games but he was part of the team's weak interior line.

OL Khaled Holmes: Holmes was inactive for nine games despite the offensive line dealing with injuries late in the season.

DT Montori Hughes: Like Holmes, Hughes spent most of the season on the inactive list (11 games).

S John Boyett: He didn't even make it to the first game of the season. Boyett was released after being arrested for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and resisting law enforcement.

RB Kerwynn Williams: He was released before the start of the season, brought back for a couple stints on the practice squad and active roster before being cut for good in early October.

TE Justice Cunningham: See Williams above. The same thing happened to Cunningham, except he made it until late November before being released for good.
INDIANAPOLIS -- While the Indianapolis Colts coaching staff is in Hawaii this week for the Pro Bowl, coaching and putting their feet in the Pacific Ocean when time permits, general manager Ryan Grigson and members of the team's personnel staff are Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl preparing for the draft in May.

“The scouts, who are away from their families, they always kind of get left in the dust but without them, we don't have that bevy of players every year to look at and they separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, and really help this process and find those players that are going to get us where we want to go,” Grigson said last week. “They're away from their families so much and they really make a tremendous sacrifice. Everyone is going to the Pro Bowl but they'll be down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, as well as I will be because that process is already starting as soon as the season's over. We're already trying to get better.”

The Colts don't have a first-round pick because they gave it to the Cleveland Browns as part of the Trent Richardson trade in September. They've got picks in the second, third, fifth and seventh rounds.

The Colts have to do better in this year's draft because last year's draft class didn't contribute much.

Here's a breakdown of the 2013 draft picks:
LB Bjoern Werner: 18 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three passes defended

OL Hugh Thornton: Forced into the starting lineup because of the season-ending injury to Donald Thomas in Week 2. Thornton started 12 games but he was part of team's weak interior line.

OL Khaled Holmes: Holmes was inactive for nine games despite the offensive line dealing with injuries late in the season.

DT Montori Hughes: Like Holmes, Hughes spent most of the season on the inactive list (11 games).

S John Boyett: He didn't even make it to the first game of the season. Boyett was released after being arrested for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and resisting law enforcement.

RB Kerwynn Williams: He was released before the start of the season, brought back for a couple stints on the practice squad and active roster before being cut for good in early October.

TE Justice Cunningham: See Williams above. The same thing happened to Cunningham, except he made it until late November before being released for good.

Werner showed some signs of promise and there's a good chance Thomas will move back into the starting lineup at guard next season if healthy.

“I think Bjoern, he needs to get stronger,” Grigson said. “He knows that. He got better versus the run. He had a game where he's so close to getting a tipped ball and taking it to the house. He has kind of a knack for breaking up passes, which is great. But the physicality that he's starting to play with, he's starting to get it. So I think Year 2's going to be big for Bjoern, especially having an offseason in the weight room.”

So it's easy to understand that Grigson needs to bounce back from last year's draft.

Colts taking a risk in signing Rainey

November, 20, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Running back Chris Rainey had to quit watching the NFL on television. He was driving himself crazy sitting on his couch watching others play, something that he thought me may never get to do again.

Rainey
Rainey waited, waited and waited some more for his agent to call and tell him a team was interested.

The 2012 fifth-round pick worked out for the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday and was on the practice field with them Wednesday afternoon after they signed him to a contract.

"Eleven months is a long time," Rainey said about not playing. "I'm just glad to be back."

Rainey comes to Indianapolis with some baggage accrued in his short time in the NFL. It's the type of baggage you think would scare the Colts off.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted Rainey, released him during the offseason after he was accused of slapping his girlfriend. Rainey was also ticketed for driving with a suspended license and given a citation for "defiant trespass" at a racetrack casino last year, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Colts appeared to be setting a standard when they released safety John Boyett after he was arrested at a downtown Indianapolis bar in early September.

But now, the Colts are back to giving players a second chance. They re-signed tight end Weslye Saunders on Oct. 29 after he was suspended eight games for a season violation of the league's performance-enhancing substance policy. Receiver LaVon Brazill was suspended the first four games this season for violating the league's substance abuse policy for the second time. Receiver Da'Rick Rogers had substance abuse violations while in college.

"We sat [Rainey] down, spent a lot of time with him, obviously," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He understands what the expectations are. We feel like he's learned from his mistakes and they're behind him. He understands what it means to wear the horseshoe and [we] fully expect Chris to take advantage of this opportunity."

Rainey said the past humbled him. The Colts hope that's the case because their focus needs to strictly be on getting the highest seed possible for the playoffs.

"I'm moving forward and staying positive," Rainey said. "I know people are going to think something, but they don't know me. People who know me, know me. I can't do [anything] about it."

What Rainey's impact will be on the Colts is yet to be determined. He could be cut next week when linebacker Erik Walden returns from his one-game suspension. He could get his shot returning kicks because David Reed hasn't proved he deserves to keep the job.

Rainey has returned 39 kicks for 1,035 yards, an average of 26.5 yards per return. Reed has 20 returns for 475 yards this season.

"I know I'm a playmaker," Rainey said. "I came to help the team win. Wherever they put me at, I'll be ready."

Colts did right thing in releasing Boyett

September, 3, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts had to release safety John Boyett. They had no choice after the rookie out of Oregon put them in the corner by being arrested early Monday morning for getting sloppy drunk and then resisting law enforcing officers.

Where’s Peyton Manning when you need him to pull out the “liquored up” line?

Keeping Boyett would have said more about the Colts than Boyett, who already looks foolish for the whole incident.

The Colts would have opened the door for others on the team to go out, get drunk, get arrested and then act like nothing happened the next day if they had kept Boyett.

The team followed protocol by not just assuming things once it found out Boyett was arrested. The front office got further information then made the right call.

They had every right to release Boyett after he had the audacity to tell the police that he couldn’t be arrested because he’s “a Colts player.”

Boyett embarrassed the Colts when he made that comment.

He’s not a first-round pick. He wasn’t even picked in the second or third round. He’s a sixth-round pick who was on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Not that athletes or any other prominent figure should use their status to help them get out of trouble, but saying he played for the Colts is the last thing that should have come out of Boyett’s mouth.

Now he only has himself to blame for no longer being in the league.

For as much that was made out of the off-the-court problems the Indiana Pacers dealt with in the years following the infamous brawl in Detroit, the Colts have also had their fair share of off-the-field problems. But their mistakes were overshadowed by Manning constantly leading them to the playoffs and to two Super Bowl appearances.

The Indianapolis Star ran a photo gallery on its website listing the 16 Colts players who’ve had run-ins with the law while on the roster since 1999. Six of those arrests are between January 2010 and early Monday morning. What also can’t be forgotten is that receiver LaVon Brazill is suspended the first four games of this season after he violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy for the second time. The Colts released tight end Weslye Saunders in July after the league suspended him for eight games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. The one thing that doesn’t make sense with the Colts is why they didn't release safety Joe Lefeged or Brazill. Lefeged was arrested on gun-related charges stemming from a traffic stop in June and Brazill is serving his second suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Owner Jim Irsay and general manager Ryan Grigson have to start somewhere, though. Boyett just happens to be that player.

Colts' rookie John Boyett arrested

September, 2, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts rookie safety John Boyett was arrested early Monday morning on preliminary charges of disorderly conduct, public intoxication and resisting law enforcement after an incident with police at an Indianapolis bar, according to a report.

Boyett
Boyett
The Indianapolis Star reported that Boyett injured his arm and elbow after he fell while running from police officers at about 3 a.m.

“You can’t arrest me, I’m a Colts player,” Boyett repeatedly told the officers, according to the report, the newspaper said, and his behavior was described as “very abusive.”

Boyett was denied entrance into a downtown bar because he was “too intoxicated,” according to the report. Boyett left the bar, but later returned where he was approached by the police.

The Star says the report states that Boyett threatened an officer by saying “I am going to come back and break your jaw.”

The newspaper also said it took four officers to subdue and handcuff Boyett.

Boyett, the team’s sixth-round pick, is currently on the reserve/non-football injury list.

“We've received some initial reports about an incident this morning involving John Boyett and are in the process of gathering the facts,” A Colts spokesman said. “Until we've completed that process we won't be in a position to make any statement.”

Colts get down to mandatory 75 players

August, 27, 2013
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Sorry to disappoint you, but there wasn’t any suspense with the Indianapolis Colts' roster cut down.

The Colts got down to the mandatory 75 players on Tuesday when they waived injured receiver Nathan Palmer, placed rookie safety John Boyett on the reserve/non-football injury list and moved rookie linebacker Josh McNary, who was in the Army, to the exempt list.

McNary’s exemption is under the reserve/military rules where the player reported after June 1, 2013, and has not played in the preseason. He missed the first three games with a hamstring injury.

There could be some suspense when the Colts have to get their roster down to 53 players by the 6 p.m. ET deadline Saturday.

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