Ryan Grigson goes home every day to his wife of 14 years, Cynthia, and the couple’s six children.
That’s a tremendous amount of obligation for the Indianapolis Colts general manager, a man whose very livelihood depends on brazenly rolling the dice.
Fair or unfair, Grigson’s standing as an NFL executive, and perhaps even his employment status, could hinge on the Colts’ free-agent signings this week and how those acquisitions eventually pan out.
Bringing in running back Frank Gore, wide receiver Andre Johnson and outside linebacker Trent Cole, 30-somethings considered to be on the back nine of their playing careers, is one of the chancier strategies Grigson has plotted since taking over in January 2012.
No small feat considering Grigson once traded for Trent Richardson.
If it all works, we forget about Grigson’s well-documented blunders — Richardson, LaRon Landry and trading Jerry Hughes. The large man behind the dark sunglasses at Colts practices is a genius who, whether deserving of that label or not, just assured himself a generous pay increase.
However, if injuries, old age or general ineffectiveness make us look back at these deals and cringe the way we do at our senior pictures from high school, Jim Irsay has a decision to make.
The Colts’ owner wants another Super Bowl ring, another Lombardi Trophy, something else to boast about during those stuffy NFL owners meetings during the offseason.
Grigson is the person Irsay has entrusted to get him the hardware.
Both Gore and Johnson are Colts property for the next three seasons; the team signed Cole, a pass-rusher with 85.5 career quarterback sacks who is expected to complement Robert Mathis, to a two-year deal.
Personally, I like the move to get Gore the best.
Think about it. Indianapolis won its only Super Bowl when it had a player opposing teams genuinely feared in safety Bob Sanders, whose wicked hits took such a toll on his body that he retired from professional football at age 29.
This immediate infusion of Gore swagger not only will boost the Colts’ disappointing ground game but will bring in an attitude that’s contagious within an offense that was already pretty darned potent.
Gore is a north-south back who runs with attitude. Indianapolis needs Gore the runner, the swag, the leader.
The ideal yin to running back Boom Herron’s yang.
Signing Johnson means the Colts picked up Reggie Wayne, albeit with two perfectly healthy legs and three years younger.
Johnson, at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, is physically suited to make difficult grabs over the middle while at the same time taking pressure off T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener.
Think Andrew Luck has been smiling a lot the past few days?
Kid, meet candy store.
But what looks great on paper has to eventually do so at Lucas Oil Stadium and venues throughout the NFL or Grigson simply hasn’t done his job.
And I’m guessing Irsay has memorized the site of the next three Super Bowls — Santa Clara, California, in 2016, Houston in 2017 and Minneapolis in 2018 — and made it clear to Grigson he wants the Colts to be the AFC representative in no less than one of them.
That’s real pressure.