Colts’ Jim Irsay disappointed, but says ‘we have the right group of leaders’

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From left to right: Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay and Chuck Pagano/photo from 2016

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – One of the most numbing losses in team history hasn’t shaken Jim Irsay’s confidence in his right-hand men.

The Indianapolis Colts owner reaffirmed his support of general manager Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano Tuesday in the aftermath of his team’s 26-23 overtime loss to the Houston Texans Sunday night. The Colts fell to 2-4 despite leading by 14 points with less than 3 minutes to play.

Irsay spoke with reporters during a break from the owners meetings in Houston. He described Sunday’s loss as “gut-wrenching.’’

“Of course, we are disappointed,’’ Irsay said. “That being said, I feel confident that we have the right group of leaders, of guys – the quarterback, head coach, general manager.

“I feel confident we have those pillars in place and through time, it will show.’’

After the Colts finished last season 8-8 and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011, Irsay tied Pagano and Grigson at the hip – his description at the time – by having both under contract through 2019. That meant a four-year contract for Pagano, whose contract was expiring, and a three-year extension for Grigson.

“I have patience and nothing has changed,’’ Irsay said. “When I made the decision in January, it was a decision that was well thought out and a long-term decision.

“Both of the guys have accomplished a lot in their careers. We could be 6-0 if the ball bounces a little differently.’’

Sunday’s loss marked just the fourth time in team history, and the first since 1983, the Colts lost a game when leading by at least 14 points in the fourth quarter. Houston erased a 23-9 deficit and forced overtime by scoring two touchdowns in the final 2:37.

“I’ve been a fan. I know the frustration,’’ Irsay said. “We’re competing against ourselves. It’s tough to compete against years when you’ve had a lot of early success.’’

The loss dropped the Colts into last place in the AFC South. They meet the Tennessee Titans Sunday in Nashville.

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