Since March, we've been shaking our heads and racking our brains trying to figure out why the Indianapolis Colts cut their best offensive guard in Ryan Lilja. Lilja was scooped up by the Kansas City Chiefs a short time after he was cut, and now he is a starting member of arguably the best o-line's in football.
Lilja might even go to the Pro Bowl.
The Chiefs now sport a 7-4 record, and despite losing to the Colts earlier this year, they look a helluva lot better than Indy does. Heck, even Matt Cassell has outplayed Peyton Manning in recent weeks.
Well, last night on The Bill Polian Show, the weekly radio show Polian conducts heard on a few local Indianapolis radio stations, Polian finally addressed the reasons why Lilja was cut. I don't have quotes from he show. So, I'm recalling from notes and from things co-writer Colin McCollough remembers.
In short, Lilja was cut because he was injured, or because the Colts had injury concerns with him moving forward. Again, this is from Polian himself on his own show.
Now, this reason is consistent with things we reported at the time of Lilja's release. However, several months after the fact, knowing that Lilja started every game for the Colts last year in addition to every game (thus far) for the Chiefs this season, it's starting to look like the 'injury excuse' is either
- The result of utter incompetence on the part of the Colts medical staff, or
- Polian is misleading Colts fans to cover his ass.
Colin seems to think Polian views us fans as dumb with this excuse of 'injury concerns' regarding Lilja, and there is probably something to that. We all got that hint when 60,000 of us booed him and his decision to quit on an undefeated season last year this time in Lucas Oil Stadium. It also didn't help when he went on his radio show the next day and insulted all of Colts nation with his ranting.
Bill isn't warm and fuzzy with fans. Never has been.
That aside for a second, what makes the Lilja injury excuse especially laughable is the fact that the Colts keep all kinds of players on their roster who are, without question, more injury prone than Ryan ever was. I mean, Polian says they had concerns about Lilja's health, but was perfectly fine keeping Bob Sanders (nine games played in two seasons, twice ending up on IR list) and Anthony Gonzalez (three games played in two seasons, twice ending up on IR list) on this roster.
I mean, does that make any sense?
Look, it's obvious to everyone that the Colts made a huge mistake in cutting Lilja. That's on Polian, and I'm sure he knows it. If he doesn't, well then Jim Irsay needs to start thinking of replacing the old man, because only someone tragically deluded would think that releasing Lilja was a good idea at this point. What is likely happening here is Polian knows he screwed up and is too stubborn and proud to admit to his critics that he made a mistake, which is consistent with Polian behavior.
Childish, yes. But consistent.
Here's where it gets hairy though: Polian is universally disliked by most local and national media. Fans are certainly not warm to him after Week Sixteen last year, and he's incurred even more anger from them after the poor job he did this past off-season.
The one thing Polian could always hang his hat on was his skills at building rosters. However, in recent years, he's been slipping in that department. If he is no longer a 'master' at player evaluation, what's the point of retaining him as president of the Colts?