The Colts released a statement on Tuesday night, stating that McDaniels informed them he was not joining the organization and despite being surprised by his decision, they will continue their head coaching search.
Wednesday, Colts GM Chris Ballard said at a press conference, “We were disappointed, unquestionably we were disappointed and surprised. We had agreed to contract terms, we had an agreement in place.” He added that the team has a list of candidates in place.
“We’ll move forward with them, and we will get the right leader for the Indianapolis Colts,” he said.
McDaniels and Ballard had shared the same agent, Bob Lamonte, until Lamonte decided to end his relationship with McDaniels after his choice to rescind his acceptance, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
On Tuesday morning, the Colts announced that McDaniels accepted the role that became available when the team fired Chuck Pagano after a 4-12 season. It was the confirmation of rumors that had been swirling for weeks. So McDaniels’ decision to stay with the Patriots is a surprising one. The team even had a press conference scheduled for Wednesday to introduce its new leader. Now they’re back to square one. But according to Schefter, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was willing to sweeten the deal to keep the offensive coordinator in New England.
Speaking of Kraft, Schefter mentioned that a league source told him the Pats’ owner was putting it to the Colts and has not forgotten about Deflategate.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss pointed out that Bill Belichick is only under contract through the 2018 season, which may play into McDaniels’ plans for his future. He also named stability for McDaniels’ family as a reason behind the shocking decision.
Another possibility is that McDaniels may have reservations about Andrew Luck’s medical status. Luck is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery to correct an issue that kept him sidelined for the entire 2017 season. If Luck’s not at full strength, that makes it much more difficult for a new head coach to come in and turn things around quickly in Indianapolis.
This leaves the Colts in a vulnerable position. The other teams that were looking for head coaches have landed candidates — including the Lions, who hired former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to replace Jim Caldwell.
Indianapolis reportedly has three candidates coming in for interviews over the next two days, per Pro Football Talk. But McDaniels was clearly their first choice.
However, whomever the new Colts head coach is, they will at least have a coaching staff.
As of right now, former Dallas Cowboys’ assistant head coach/linebackers coach Matt Elerbus will be Indy’s new defensive coordinator, while former Ilinois State defensive line coach Mike Phair will hold the same title and stay, according to Schefter.
The Colts had to wait until after the Super Bowl to make the McDaniels hire per league rules. Now the Colts are not too far from the new league year and are behind the eight ball without a head coach in place.