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NFL Combine 2017: Colts-centered Wednesday notebook

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Though the first group of players actually reported to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine yesterday, today was the first real day of activity. The big attention-getter today were the interviews with head coaches and general managers, and Colts GM Chris Ballard spoke. That’s were we should begin our recap of today’s Combine action:

Chris Ballard meets with the media

For the first time since his introductory press conference a month ago, the new Colts’ GM held a press conference, and he spoke about a number of things relating to the Colts. He also appeared on the radio with 1070 the Fan’s Dan Dakich this afternoon, so there was plenty of content to discuss. For example: Ballard had some really good thoughts on why the locker room factor must be an important consideration in free agency; he at least addressed the David Parry situation (though with no resolution); he explained that there’s still no timeline for Andrew Luck’s recovery from shoulder surgery; how he’s happy for Pat McAfee upon retirement; and much more. During a time of year where hearing from GMs and coaches is uncommon (the offseason), it’s good to hear from Ballard.

Head coach Chuck Pagano will speak with the media on Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. ET.

NFL salary cap set for 2017

Also today, the NFL officially set the salary cap number for the 2017 season at $167 million. This year’s cap number is an increase of over $12 million from a year ago. The Colts have carried over $6.6 million in unused cap space for last year, which makes their cap number $173.6 million. Because of that, they’ll have over $53 million in cap space available this year to spend.

Jemal Singleton to get up-close look at running backs this week

Colts running backs coach Jemal Singleton tweeted out yesterday that he has been selected as one of the on-field coaches for the running back drills on Friday at the Combine. That means that he’ll get an up-close look at the prospects at that position, as he’ll actually be one of the ones putting them through the drills. This could prove very helpful for the Colts, given the fact that they really need to find a young, dynamic running back for the long-term and that this year’s draft is a very deep running back class. Though Singleton working the drills at the Combine might only be a minimal advantage over other teams, the Colts can use every advantage they can get.

Bruce Arians once again praises Andrew Luck

By this point I think it’s pretty clear that Bruce Arians loves Andrew Luck - such as his statement last month that if you put Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger together you get Luck - and the Cardinals’ head coach was at it again today at the Combine. Arians was asked about the draft process five years ago, when he was the offensive coordinator of the Colts when they drafted Luck. When was Arians sold on the quarterback?

“When I put a play on the board, went through about five different coverages, walked out, came back in and said, 'OK, give it back to me.' It was just like I had said. I tried to trick him [by saying], 'that's not what I said.' [Luck responded], 'That's what you said.' I kind of knew he had it; he was special. In evaluating Robert [Griffin III] that year, I thought Robert was special. He knew the offense inside and out. I thought he would be special. It was just putting the best one who fit our system at the time and I thought it was Andrew.”

He thought right.