Another Polian joins the Colts' family
Dennis Polian joins his father and brother (Bill and Chris) in the front office as director of football administration
A third Polian has been added to the Indianapolis Colts management team.
Owner Jim Irsay confirmed Monday that Dennis Polian has been hired as the club's director of football administration. The team also has brought in Eric Kunttu as video director and hired Avis Roper as senior director of communications.
Craig Kelley, an employee the past 26 years and vice president of public relations the past 12, has been reassigned.
Meanwhile, employees in the NFL office and of a number of league teams are taking pay cuts with the lockout entering its fourth month. Several club owners, Irsay, the New York Giants' John Mara and the Minnesota Vikings Sygi Wilf among them, have been adamant about avoiding such reductions.
"I try to stay focused in the now. I just don't anticipate that sort of thing," Irsay said. "My feeling is I'm interested in good morale around here. I look at someone who's making $40,000, $50,000 a year, who has rent to pay, and I don't see it for me as an owner to be asking them for anything."
Instead, the Colts have added a Polian, the son of team vice chairman Bill Polian and the brother of vice president/general manager Chris Polian. Dennis Polian, 34, will be the club's expert on rules deriving from the collective bargaining agreement currently being negotiated between owners and players, budgeting, contract proposals and reporting transactions and all daily communications with the NFL office.
"It's a job we pieced through a couple different offices, but it's something we're going to have a dedicated person for moving forward," Chris Polian said. "With what he's been through having to manage the Tulane situation through Katrina, I know he's going to be able to handle what we throw at him."
Dennis Polian spent the past two years as assistant to the head coach with the Minnesota Vikings. He has worked in the NFL, CFL, AFL and at the college level, primarily in administrative capacities.
The latter includes Tulane, whose New Orleans campus was shut down and evacuated in 2005 because of Hurricane Katrina. The football team moved to Louisiana Tech in Ruston and played 11 games in 11 stadiums that season. Polian had to pull all the loose ends together; he was the Green Wave's director of football operations.
Kunttu was the Buffalo Bills' assistant video coordinator from 1990-94 and Syracuse University's video coordinator from 1994 until his move to the Colts. He replaces Marty Heckscher, who is retiring.
Roper has worked 16 years in the NFL, the past 13 as assistant director of communications for the New York Giants.
Kelley, Irsay said, will be responsible for Internet content on Colts.com and "archive work."
The moves are the most recent in a sequence of retirements, firings and reassignments involving senior Colts employees. Irsay and Chris Polian said the moves have not been a matter of Chris Polian surrounding himself with people he's comfortable with as he takes on more and more oversight of daily operations from his father.
"It's a combination of circumstances and of what I felt needed adjusting," Chris Polian said. "Marty retired and we're very happy for him. Avis has paid his dues. It's a situation where we needed help and kind of wanted to look at things a little differently as we move forward."
Elsewhere, cuts go on. League employees have had their salaries trimmed by 12 percent since April, and reductions will increase if there's no labor deal by August. Commissioner Roger Goodell and Jeff Pash, the league's lead labor negotiator, have cut their salaries to $1.
Seven teams have instituted pay reductions or furloughs since the lockout began March 12. They are Miami, Buffalo, the New York Jets, Kansas City, Detroit, Tampa Bay and Arizona, the Associated Press found in interviews around the league.
The Bills made across-the-board cuts to all salaried employees in March ranging between 20 and 25 percent, then in May, suspended payments into pension and 401(k) plans for the duration of the lockout.
Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, coach Tony Sparano and his assistant coaches took a pay cut on June 1. In May, the Dolphins cut salaries of support staff 10 to 20 percent.