Colts owner Jim Irsay excited for season amid potential distractions

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay says his enthusiasm for the upcoming season is at a level he hasn't experienced before after the team spent the offseason loading up on talent to surround franchise quarterback Andrew Luck.

But one of the things the Colts -- who are coming off an AFC Championship Game appearance last season -- want to avoid are distractions that could derail their ultimate goal of reaching the Super Bowl.

Among the potential distractions: Head coach Chuck Pagano, receiver T.Y. Hilton, left tackle Anthony Castonzo and tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are all headed into the final year of their contracts.

Pagano is not expected to get an extension this season, but Irsay is optimistic that they can reach a deal with Hilton and Castonzo before the regular season begins.

"We have a little time with trying to work on a few extensions," Irsay told ESPN.com. "There's no reason Anthony Castonzo and T.Y. Hilton can't get done. Look for us to keep core players and our top players. I don't think it'll be a distraction. I can't see why we can't get something done before Labor Day with T.Y. and Anthony."

Hilton is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance after posting 82 receptions for 1,345 yards last season. Castonzo, who is responsible for blocking Luck's blind side, is the only offensive lineman to start every game last season.

The Colts offered Pagano a one-year contract extension earlier in the offseason, but he turned it down, choosing to coach out the season. Pagano will be in line for a significant pay raise from the Colts or possibly another team that has a head-coaching vacancy if Indianapolis reaches the Super Bowl this season.

"With Chuck's situation, we've had conversations and it's all been friendly," Irsay said. "He understands where I'm coming from. I understand where he's coming from. My hope is we're going to have a great season and Chuck will end up eventually signing an extension. Chuck is really motivated and he's excited about this year."

A great season for the Colts would be reaching the Super Bowl and winning it after taking a step forward in the playoffs in each of the three seasons since Pagano, Luck and general manager Ryan Grigson came on board in 2012. They're also 12-0 in the AFC South the past two seasons.

The Colts signed veteran running back Frank Gore, receiver Andre Johnson and linebacker Trent Cole during the offseason. They also selected speedy receiver Phillip Dorsett in the first round of this year's draft.

"The expectations and the excitement," Irsay said. "It's hard to remember a season so anticipated like this one is. Of course there were great expectations in past years with Peyton [Manning] and Andrew, but this year is really special.

"We have some special veterans we brought in. When you take a team like we had [last year] and add really special guys, to all of sudden to have those guys, their presence as we go into September, that's special."