Colts’ Polian backtracks on 18-game regular season statement

Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian on Wednesday morning backtracked on his statement that the decision to expand the NFL regular season from 16 to 18 games is a done deal.

“I created a headline that was 180 degrees from what was right,” Polian told ESPN Radio. “Bad job by me in answering the question.”

Polian explained that the issue must be discussed further among NFL executives and owners, and then it must be voted on by owners. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this week that expanding to 18 games does not need to be approved by the players’ union.

Polian, a member of the league’s competition committee, caused a stir Monday on his local radio show when he twice called the decision “a fait accompli.”

On Wednesday morning, Polian said he was “imprecise” when answering a question from a caller to his show on WFNI-AM 1070 about regular-season expansion. Polian added that as a general manager, he must start preparing as thought the 18-game regular season will be in place.

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and former Colts Coach Tony Dungy both have said that reducing the pre-season schedule would hurt teams’ evaluation of undrafted free agents and other untested talent.

Since Polian has been an ace at filling the Colts roster with diamonds in the rough, Manning and Dungy agreed the Colts, under Polian’s leadership, could be hurt more than most teams if the preseason shrinks as the regular season is expanded.

If the regular season is expanded, Polian said he’d simply have to look at other ways to evaluate players, including controlled scrimmages with other teams.
 

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