FOX Sports Exclusive
Polian: Crennel never 'intended any harm'
There are those who believe the NFL should sanction the Kansas City Chiefs and head coach Romeo Crennel for comments that can be construed as contractually tampering with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
Bill Polian isn’t one of them.
During the Tuesday night show we co-hosted on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Polian said he would “never, ever give a second thought” about filing an official complaint with the league if Crennel’s comments happened during his tenure as Colts president.
Speaking to the media last Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Crennel was asked about Kansas City’s interest in Manning, who will likely be released before being set to collect a $28 million roster bonus on March 8. Crennel first acknowledged that the NFL bars him from speaking about players that the Chiefs may pursue who are under contract with another team. Crennel, though, may have then skirted those rules when saying, “With a talent like that, I would be crazy not to consider it if he were available.”
The statements didn’t strike much of a cord with Polian.
“Given the fact that the coaches are paraded out there with little or no forewarning on what they’re going to be asked about and that there’s such focus on what is said at the combine rather than what is done … I don’t think (Crennel) intended any harm whatsoever,” Polian said.
Polian said he and his son, former Colts general manager Chris Polian, would have handled the matter by going directly to Chiefs management.
“If it had occurred on our watch, so to speak, I’m sure Chris would have given (Chiefs general manager) Scott Pioli a ring and said, ‘Scott, I would appreciate it if you just mentioned to (Crennel) that Peyton is our property,’” Polian said.
That call would now have to be made by Colts owner Jim Irsay or new general manager Ryan Grigson. Irsay fired the Polians at the end of the 2011 season.
Multiple sources told FOXSports.com that contract talks between agents and team executives about pending free agents still under contract elsewhere remained rampant at the recently concluded Combine. Besides the Crennel flap, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter Bob McGinn on Twitter wrote that Green Bay had spoken with the agent for Houston center Chris Myers about a possible deal.
If such contact were proven, the NFL could act to strip the Packers of draft picks. Detroit and Chicago have lost draft picks in recent seasons when found guilty of tampering.
Polian said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the NFL Competition Committee looks into a rules change to revamp negotiating rules before free agency. Polian said one possibility would be adapting guidelines similar to the National Basketball Association where agents are allowed to speak with teams about pending free agents several weeks before the signing period begins. A dead period then follows that allows teams to negotiate exclusively with their own players with agents who know the parameters discussed with other suitors.
“The people who are proponents of that make two arguments,” said Polian, a long-time competition committee member. “It makes legal what is now in practice anyway and gives the old club a real target to aim at. The first (argument) is very concrete.”
Polian then laughed.
“The second (argument), I don’t think the agent will tell you the truth,” he said. “I don’t know if you have anything to aim at there.”