A few days ago, we mentioned how tight end Mike Miller out of Taylor University has been impressing the Colts so far and how offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski called him a “lump of clay” who has size and potential.
Miller has certainly been impressing the Colts so far at a position where the third tight end spot is wide open, but it turns out there’s a pretty great story as to how he was discovered: it was by Colts’ vice chair/owner Carlie Irsay.
“I’ll tell you what, this is the honest-to-God’s truth, is Carlie Irsay,” general manager Ryan Grigson said today when asked how they discovered Miller. “She’s been around it since she’s been knee high to a grasshopper. Her dad gets it, he’s a great football man. She had [Miller’s] name early on for whatever reason she got it. She’s had a handful of guys that she’s brought to my attention. We’ve investigated them, we’ve scouted them and he’s a guy that basically she unearthed. I’m giving credit where credit is due. If he makes it Carlie gets that on her wall of fame and not her wall of shame, just like our scouts."
So while the rest of the Colts scouts are busy at work looking all over the place for talent, Carlie Irsay is doing the same. She found out about Mike Miller, liked what she saw, and passed his name along to Ryan Grigson. Grigson and some of the scouts then looked into it, also liked what they saw, and signed Miller as an undrafted free agent. Miller isn’t the only player discovered by Carlie, either.
“There have been other guys that have actually made teams, last year," Grigson revealed. “It’s just a handful, but trust me, when she brings a name up we investigate it.”
Carlie and her sisters hold the position of vice chair/owner with the Colts and are waiting in the wings to take over ownership of the team from their father, Jim, whenever he decides to step down. Carlie was also the one who assumed the day-to-day control of the franchise a few years ago when Jim was serving a suspension, and she has grown increasingly involved. At Wednesday’s practice at Lucas Oil Stadium, Carlie was roaming the sidelines with a clipboard, taking notes and paying close attention to what went on at practice (perhaps watching Mike Miller in particular). It’s cool to hear about how certain players are discovered, and it’s also cool to hear about how Colts executives are involved and know what they are doing when it comes to football evaluation.
Now, the question that remains is whether Miller will impress enough to make the 53-man roster. There’s still a long ways to go and he could wind up being a prime practice squad candidate, but he has had a good offseason.
“He’s just getting better every day,” Grigson said, “he’s a 6-6, 255 pound, long, athletic guy that can get out of a break. I think he’s had maybe one drop this offseason. He’s been continually impressing, but again it’s the coaches that have bought in to taking such a lump of clay. I think even Chud even referred to him as a lump of clay, that’s what he is. And to me, as a coach, that could be really rewarding because all of a sudden you’re seeing these guys develop and that’s the air of development that we have to have around here because we’ve infused so many young guys because we’ve had no choice. So I think it’s going to be a combination of how we develop this guy, how much we put into developing these guys to see their realized product at the end of the day because if we don’t we’re not going to be able to plug and play guys and just grab guys and pay them this and that like we have in the past and get ready and made players, we can’t do it. So I think it’s a good place to be for the organization. I think it’s healthy.”
If Miller winds up sticking around, he’ll have Carlie Irsay to thank for bringing him to Ryan Grigson's attention.