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Colts GM: Replacing Bruce Arians, Tom Telesco tough

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ryan Grigson hand-picked his staff last year to start the reclamation project that was the Indianapolis Colts. Less than 12 months later he was forced to refill two of the team's most important positions after the Arizona Cardinals hired offensive coordinator Bruce Arians as their coach and the San Diego Chargers tapped vice president of football operations Tom Telesco as their general manager.

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"Stressful," Grigson called the process Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "That's just as important as finding someone to replace a Pro Bowler that's no longer with us. We set the bar high. When you lose someone as good as Tom or Bruce ... I always have a short list, but to be able to actually go out and get them, a lot of times that's not so easy. Their employer still has the ability to say no. Maybe they (could) have three other teams looking at them. It's never that easy.

"Thank the Lord we got the guys we really wanted to get and we're happy to have them."

Grigson and the Colts went on to hire Pep Hamilton as their offensive coordinator and Jimmy Raye as their new director of football operations.

Some other Colts news out of Indy:

» Any Cardinals fans on the fence about Arians should listen to Grigson: "I can't say enough good things about Bruce. ... His strengths are his directness, yet he can still do it in a way to where it's not demeaning. He can still get a chuckle out of someone, but at the same time where they know in the back of their head, I better get this cleaned up or things aren't going to be good for me around here. He's an experienced guy in this league that's been around a long time. He's a heck of a play-caller. The thing I love about Bruce is, he goes for the throat. He doesn't care what anyone else says, he goes for the throat and he's got guts. He was a big part of us winning this year because he took chances, but it wasn't like he didn't have a reference point for what he was doing."

» Defensive end Dwight Freeney said he was disappointed the Colts didn't make him an offer. Grigson explained the move: "We just felt like our vision moving forward, that (he wasn't) part of that at this point. It was just time. We felt good about our position groups, felt good about this draft, felt good about free agency. So, it just came down to what was best for this organization. ... We felt it was best for both."

» Grigson gave a glimpse into his philosophy when he set out to remake the Colts after being hired as general manager in 2012: "If you want sustained success, you can't start with guys on the wrong side of 30. That's just the truth. You have to have some youth with some vets splashed in. That was just my approach."

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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