INDIANAPOLIS | Ryan Grigson looked physically spent, like back in those days as a Purdue lineman coming off the field after a tough series.
The Indianapolis Colts' newly-hired general manager wears a suit and tie now but with a daily to-do list longer than an Everglades python and barely has time to sit and check his voice messages.
"I'm here as a sounding board for the owner (Jim Irsay),'' the 1990 Highland grad said Thursday.
As Grigson made his Super Bowl XLVI rounds outside the crowded JW Marriott media center, he couldn't take a step without being stopped and asked about the status of quarterback Peyton Manning, who missed the 2011 season with a neck injury.
"It is what it is. It's a health issue and the man has to be able to play," Grigson said, referring to the $28 million roster bonus Manning is due in early March unless waived or traded.
"But I have a lot of other things to address first."
Since being named GM, Grigson and Irsay have fired coach Jim Caldwell and most of his staff, and hired former Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano as their new head coach.
"I always was under the radar, in and out, at Philly," said Grigson, the Eagles' former director of player personnel. "But I'm kinda going 100 miles per hour here and there's no other way to do it.
"I've got 100 things on my plate. I can't be tired. I can't be sick. I've got a big job to do. The owner expects me to knock it out."
There is a pretty big game here, by the way.
The New York Giants and New England Patriots meet in the Super Bowl Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Indianapolis has opened its heart to fans, media members and dignitaries from around the world this week and Ryan Grigson expected nothing less.
"Folks here are genuine and they go out of their way for you," he said. "It's about people and making them feel welcomed here. That's a no-brainer.
"The signs, posters and banners are nice but you want to give people something to go home and talk about."
From Friday through Thursday, more than 400,000 fans had visited the Super Bowl Village downtown.
Indianapolis International Airport was expecting 40,000 fans to arrive for the game.
And at last count, more than 1,000 credentialed media were covering the game.