The task of rebuilding the Indianapolis Colts back into a Super Bowl contender could become the job of one of the CFL's longest-serving general managers.
Colts owner Jim Irsay says Jim Popp, the general manager of the Montreal Alouettes, is a candidate for the NFL club's vacant GM job.
The opening came after the Colts fired vice-chairman Bill Polian (a former CFL executive) and his son, Chris, as the club's GM.
Irsay said Friday night via Twitter that by Monday the Colts will have interviewed seven candidates for the club's GM position and that Popp is a "darkhorse" candidate for the job.
Popp did not immediately return a message Saturday.
This isn't the first time Popp has been mentioned in NFL circles. He signed a new deal with Montreal in 2010 after reports he was in line for a job within the Washington Redskins' personnel department.
Popp's current deal with Montreal extends through the 2014 season, meaning the CFL club would have to agree to release him from its contract before Popp could head south of the border.
Popp, 47, has been Montreal's general manager since the club relocated from Baltimore in 1996. He has built the Alouettes into one of the CFL's top franchises.
Under Popp's watch, Montreal has made eight Grey Cup appearances, winning three times (2002, 2009, 2010).
Popp became the general manager of Baltimore's CFL club in '95. Baltimore made league history that season, becoming the first American franchise to capture the Grey Cup before Popp followed the team when it relocated to Montreal.
Last October, Popp was honoured by Sports Media Canada, receiving the George Gross Award as executive of the year.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the other six candidates include: Atlanta Falcons player-personnel director Les Snead; Falcons college scouting director David Caldwell; Philadelphia Eagles player-personnel director Ryan Grigson; New York Giants college scouting director Marc Ross; Dallas Cowboys assistant scouting director Tom Ciskowski; and Colts player-personnel director Tom Telesco.
The Colts posted a 2-14 record this past season. Star quarterback Peyton Manning, a four-time NFL MVP, was out the entire year after undergoing neck surgery. Manning's NFL future remains uncertain.
Further clouding the issue is deciding by early March whether the Colts pick up the US$28-million option on the five-year, $90-million deal Manning signed with Indianapolis last summer.
Whoever takes over as GM must also deal with the status of head coach Jim Caldwell and whether the Colts should use the top pick in the 2012 NFL draft on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.