INDIANAPOLIS – Jim Irsay wanted to get a few things off his chest.

So, Tuesday evening he did.

In a phone interview, the Indianapolis Colts’ owner insisted:

  • His 3-5-1 team is not – and would never – “tank’’ the remainder of the season to better position itself in the 2023 NFL draft. The Colts currently sit 14th in the fluid draft order; five teams have fewer than three wins with half the season remaining.
  • Interim coach Jeff Saturday has the latitude to use whichever quarterback – Sam Ehlinger, Nick Foles, benched/injured Matt Ryan – gives the team the best chance to win. Saturday announced Ehlinger will make his third career Sunday when the Colts face the Raiders in Las Vegas.
  • National reports that Ryan, who’s dealing with a sprained right shoulder, won’t play again this season to protect the team from the possibility of a hefty outlay should he suffer a serious or season-ending injury are flat-out wrong.

The latter issue has been circulated nationally since Ryan was benched Oct. 24, and was mentioned by former Colts’ coach Tony Dungy during a Tuesday appearance on The Dan Patrick Show.

“I don’t know how people report these things that are false,’’ Irsay said. “There is no playing-time thing for Matt Ryan, a $17 million bonus in the offseason. It doesn’t exist.’’

Ryan’s $12 million base salary in 2023 is fully guaranteed. He’s also due a $10 million roster bonus and an additional $7.2 million, and both become guaranteed March 17, according to

The Colts can walk away from that $17.2 million by cutting Ryan prior March 17. However, it becomes guaranteed if an injury prevents Ryan from passing a physical in March.

“I’m not going to talk about the details,’’ Irsay said, “but that’s in every contract.’’

As for the Colts’ overall quarterback situation, Irsay said it’s conceivable all three will be involved over the final two months of the season.

“There is never a notion where you wouldn’t go to Nick or you wouldn’t go to Matt later in the season when his shoulder is healthy,’’ he said. “Jeff and Chris (Ballard) and I talked about it. They’re all available to help us win.

“Whatever Jeff decides, that’s the bottom line. It’s all about who can help us win going forward. We went with Sam and we’re going with Sam. If there’s a notion for Jeff to make a change, that’s Jeff’s prerogative.’’

Irsay was most incensed with the idea his franchise is in “tank’’ mode.

In the last 15 days, the team has benched Ryan, turned to Ehlinger, fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, traded running back Nyheim Hines to Buffalo, fired Reich and named Saturday, who has no coaching experience at the collegiate or pro level, interim coach.

They’ve lost three straight and their postseason hopes are fading.

“It’s the most absurd thing in the world that we would be tanking games,’’ Irsay said, his voice rising. “You think we’re going to (expletive) tank games? That’s (BS).

“We’re in this thing; 9-7-1 gets in (the postseason). We just have to look at the Raiders game and get back on track. We’ve always felt we’re in things. We’re not tanking the season or not playing Matt because of . . . it’s all (BS). That is not true.’’

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You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.