Prior to becoming the general manager of the San Diego Chargers in January of this year, Tom Telesco spent 15 years rising up the ranks of the Indianapolis Colts front office. He still has many friends and mentors in the organization, so it would be understandable that the game is a little more personal than most for the Chargers GM.
But any personal satisfaction that may come from beating his former team pales in comparison to the importance a win would be for his current team.
The fact remains that the Bolts enter the game with a 2-3 record, so getting back to .500 is by far the number one priority. Still, with so much history between Telesco and the Colts, it will be a special game for the youngest general manager in Chargers history.
“I’ve got a huge amount of respect for the Colts organization,” Telesco said. “Jim Irsay and his family were so supportive of me for all 15 years and it was an honor to work with (General Manager) Ryan Grigson and (Head Coach) Chuck Pagano for a year. I have a lot of friendships there, but that all being said, we’re 2-3 and it’s going to be a huge game Monday night against them. It’s going to be a challenging effort for us, but we’ve got to find a way to come out with a win.”
Telesco began his Colts career in 1998 as an area scout, and served in that role until 2000. From there, he became a pro scout from 2001-03 before rising to director of pro scouting from 2004-05, director of player personnel from 2006-11 and vice president of football operations in 2012. Thus, he played a significant role in helping shape the 4-1 Colts roster that visits Qualcomm Stadium Monday night.
“That’s just part of this business,” he said about having to go up against players he helped bring in. “But really, Bill Polian and Chris Polian were the architects there for a long time, and then Ryan Grigson came in last year and he took his blue print and he’s executed it very well. It hasn’t been that long that I’ve been gone, but it seems like forever ago for me.”
Still, those 15 years shaped who Tom Telesco is as a football executive, so it’s hard to fully explain what his experience in Indy meant for him.
“It really is hard to put into words,” he admitted. “Fifteen years, that’s the bulk of my professional career. My development and growth really all came from there. I learned so much there from so many people but also Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell and all the front office staff and coaches. There is such a big body of work there that is the bulk of my professional growth.”
Prior to kickoff, Telesco looks forward to seeing some of his old friends and exchanging greetings. But once the ball is put in play, it’s all about the San Diego Chargers and getting an important win for the team.
“There really is never just one game that you look forward to,” he said about whether he had this match highlighted on his calendar. “You have to win them all. It doesn’t matter who you line up against. It will be nice to catch up with a couple people before the game, but other than that, this is a game that we really need to go out and play well.”