Speaking at Saturday’s press conference to announce the firing of Grigson, owner Jim Irsay confirmed that Pagano will remain the team’s coach for 2017.
“The new general manager will come in, evaluate our whole football program and we’ll see where we’re at,” Irsay added. “Again, I hope that Chuck can be our coach for many years to come. He is our coach this year.”
In response to reports that he recently recruited Jon Gruden for a position with the Colts, Irsay insisted that he merely discussed the state of the organization when he spoke with the Monday Night Football analyst. Irsay also said that a pairing of Gruden as head coach and Colts legend Peyton Manning as general manager was “never in the cards.”
Manning is not a serious candidate for the general manager opening, though Irsay will continue to leave the door open for a future role.
“I welcome the opportunity for him and I to talk about that possibility someday that he would play some role in our organization,” Irsay explained. “You have to remember it hasn’t even been a year since the confetti fell from his Denver Super Bowl victory. He’s enjoying the retirement, enjoying the chance to not be downed in a schedule and that sort of thing.
“Right now, it’s something where he is not in the mix in the process for interviewing general managers.”
While the Colts search for Grigson’s replacement, Irsay indicated that vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III “is going to be working with Coach Pagano.”
“Jimmy will interview for the general manager job,” Irsay continued. “We will have an extensive process to interview general managers. … Internally we worked through some things even through this week that gave us some direction on our final decision and I’m very excited about the direction we’re going.”
The son of long-time NFL assistant coach Jimmy Raye II, Raye is viewed as a strong in-house candidate endorsed by Pagano and his coaching staff.