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Polian, Colts focus on future

Team president didn't discuss Super Bowl loss during media session.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 10:11 am

INDIANAPOLIS – Colts president Bill Polian met the media for one last time this season and he had some awfully tight parameters.

He wouldn't talk much about the past, including the Super Bowl loss.

He wouldn't talk much about the future, especially with labor negotiations still to determine how the team can approach its restricted free agents.

But he'd be happy to answer any “appropriate” questions.

Suffice it to say the Q-and-A featured more Q's than illuminating A's.

“As I tell the players quite often when I speak to them in training camp, the past is prologue,” Polian said. “The '09 season is in the books. It is relegated to the history of the league and a new season begins – has begun, a new season began last Tuesday.”

Polian repeated the “past is prologue” phrase twice more and was insistent on not discussing much, if anything about the Colts' 31-17 Super Bowl loss to the New Orleans Saints in Miami.

Earlier in the week on his radio show, Polian criticized the play of the offensive line for failing to get a first down late in the first half. He also expressed disappointment in the special teams unit for failing to recover the Saints' onside kick to open the second half.

But he declined to revisit those statements or much of anything else connected with analyzing the Super Bowl performance.

“I don't need to look back upon it,” Polian said. “It's gone and done with. I don't think any purpose is served. I've spoken about that already and what I said was clear and concise. The past is prologue. It's over. There's nothing to do about it. You learn from your mistakes, win or lose, you correct those mistakes and move on.”

Polian pointed out that few people would have expected the Colts to finish 16-3 and reach the Super Bowl if they had been told in August that Bob Sanders, Adam Vinatieri, Anthony Gonzalez, Tyjuan Hagler and Jim Sorgi would miss significant portions of time.

He's got a point there. If most of us had known Sorgi would be sidelined, we'd have picked the Colts for 8-8 at best.

Polian praised the job of rookie coach Jim Caldwell. And he praised the Super Bowl play of quarterback Peyton Manning, who drew some criticism for his fourth-quarter pass that was intercepted by Tracy Porter and returned for a touchdown.

“(Manning's) performance was great, as was Drew's,” Polian said, referring to Drew Brees.

Polian declined to address which free agents the Colts would try to retain next season beyond unrestricted free agent linebacker Gary Brackett.

“He's a very good player,” Polian said of Brackett. “He's a leader and he's a guy we would like to get signed. We'll make every effort to get that done. There's no guarantee with an unrestricted free agent, but we'll make every effort to get it done.”

Polian also steered clear of the topic of Manning's potential contract renegotiation. Colts owner Jim Irsay said during Super Bowl week that he wanted to sign Manning to a new deal that would make him the highest paid player in the game. Manning has one year remaining on his current contract, which was a seven-year, $99.2 million deal.

Polian apparently addressed the media only because NFL rules require the team to provide final end-of-season access. Most often, the head coach handles the session, but Polian said Caldwell was out of town.

Polian said he expects all of the players who suffered season-ending injuries to return to the team next season. He said he also expects offensive linemen Tony Ugoh and Mike Pollak to contribute next season. He said it's too early to talk about specific needs that will be addressed in the NFL Draft.

Polian talked for almost 25 minutes, but there was barely a minute's worth of actual news. He did acknowledge that rookie cornerback Jerraud Powers' injury had a bigger impact than most expected in the Super Bowl.

“We'll do what we can to improve and do it with the idea that every season is a new season,” Polian said. “There is no carryover. What we did this year doesn't count. What we do to prepare and get ready and continue on next year is what counts.

“There's no hangover. There's no carryover. It's a brand new season.”

Incidentally, Polian also thanked Colts fans for their unwavering support and how much it helped in the playoffs.

He looked a lot happier leaving the interview room than he did entering it. Maybe he was just glad to be past the epilogue.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. E-mail Reggie Hayes at rhayes@news-sentinel.com.