Colts’ Pete Ward denies team pursued Sean Payton

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A high-ranking member of the Indianapolis Colts’ front office was quick to dismiss a Sunday report the team pursued New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.

“It’s totally fictitious,’’ Pete Ward, the team’s chief operating office said. “This is the age of false information. It’s unbelievable.’’

CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora posted a story late Sunday afternoon detailing how the Colts, with Ward serving as their intermediary, recently had discussions with the Saints about arranging a trade for Payton. Negotiations stalled, he reported, when draft-pick compensation couldn’t be reached.

Ward contacted La Canfora and summarily denied the report.

“I told him it was BS. And you can quote me on that,’’ Ward said, admitting an individual associated with Payton reached out to the Colts a couple of weeks ago.

“I got a call from someone who said he was an associate of Sean Payton. He asked if we were interested in talking and I said ‘No.’ That was it.’’

So, it was a brief phone call?

“That it was,’’ Ward said. “I hate when something like this comes up because it’s not true and no matter how untrue it is, there are people out there who are going to wonder.’’

Saturday, Irsay fired general manager Ryan Grigson and cleared any uncertainty regarding the immediate status of coach Chuck Pagano.

“He’s our coach for 2017,’’ Irsay said.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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