|Former Indy president Bill Polian sits with team consultant Jim Tressel before a game in November. (US PRESSWIRE)|
By Ryan Wilson
The Colts are in the market for a head coach. After cleaning house in recent weeks, team owner Jim Irsay and new general manager Ryan Grigson continue their search for the man who will help return Indianapolis to prominence.
Jim Caldwell was sent packing Tuesday and the names of possible candidates to replace him span the gamut from old-hands to up-and-comers. Our very early list included both: Brad Childress, Marty Mornhinwheg, Wade Phillips and Rod Chudzinski.
The Colts are reportedly interested in talking to Childress, the former Vikings head coach. And Irsay's plane, according to the Indianapolis Star, was in Sarasota, Florida Friday morning before returning to Indianapolis later in the day.
Former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, who resigned amid an NCAA investigation in May and joined the Colts as a consultant in September, has a home in the area. Multiple sources expect Tressel to interview for Caldwell's job, though the Star couldn't confirm this.
On Thursday, a Colts source told CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman that there was "no way in hell" that the organization was considering Tressel as Caldwell's replacement.
Freeman adds: "The source explained that owner Irsay likes Tressel and does want him to have some sort of role in the organization (a new head coach will have some say in that of course). Which is, well, incredible. If you remember Tressel resigned as Ohio State coach after it was determined the Buckeyes had numerous rules violations under his watch. Ohio State later self-vacated its entire 2010 season."
The three known candidates to be targeted for interviews with the Colts are Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, New Orleans offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
Whoever ends up as Indy's new coach, the first order of business will be to decide what to do with the team's franchise quarterbacks (the one currently on the roster and the one they will inevitably draft in three months). Peyton Manning has been with the organization since 1998, although he missed the 2011 season with a neck injury. The Colts, fresh off a 2-14 effort without Manning, had won at least 10 games every year from 2002-2010 (including two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl title).
But Manning is due a $28 million roster bonus on March 8 and there's a possibility that the organization could decide to move forward without him. Indianapolis holds the first-overall pick in April's NFL Draft and Irsay has already said that they will select a quarterback regardless of Manning's health.
"With Griffin and with Luck and the way it's shaping up in the top part of the draft, which very likely could go one and two like with Peyton and Ryan Leaf -- it's most likely one of those quarterbacks that you really feel is the best player in the draft, and where we're at moving forward, that you can't pass that up," Irsay told ESPN, per the Star.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.