Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has rejected the Colts head coaching job and will instead remain in New England, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
It’s a stunning reversal by McDaniels, whom the Colts officially announced as their new head coach earlier today. Although there had been increasing chatter that McDaniels could bail on Indianapolis, the team’s official press release seemed to put those rumors to bed. Instead, McDaniels has opted not to take the job, leaving the Colts to restart their search process.
McDaniels had been viewed as one of the preeminent head coaching candidates of the 2018 cycle, and the Colts had reportedly agreed to hire him as their next head coach as far back as January 14. Indianapolis stopped interviewing other contenders for the job, McDaniels stopped taking meetings with other clubs, and the hunt had seemed to be over. Indeed, McDaniels had even begun hiring a staff.
However, Patriots owner Robert Kraft began “sweetening” McDaniels’ New England contract over the past 48 hours as part of an effort to keep the offensive play-caller in tow, tweets Schefter. Family concerns also played into McDaniels’ decision, as did “clarity” over head coach Bill Belichick‘s future, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While Belichick is returning for the 2018 campaign, that report could indicate McDaniels has been told when Belichick will retire.
For the Colts and general manager Chris Ballard, it’s back to the drawing board. Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub has been viewed as a possible contingency plan for the club, especially given that he and Ballard worked together in Kansas City. Toub never actually interviewed for the Indianapolis job the first time around, and nearly every other candidate who did meet with Ballard & Co. is now employed. Baylor head coach Matt Rhule is the only original contender who hasn’t accepted a new position, and withdrew his name from the Colts’ search after one interview.
It’s unclear what McDaniels’ decision means for those coaches who had agreed to join his staff, but they’re now in-limbo and likely staring at unemployment. Coaches such as Matt Eberflus (who was set to become Indy’s defensive coordinator) and Dave DeGuglielmo (offensive line) are now without jobs. Most positions around the NFL have already been filled, leaving these coaches with limited options going forward.
Now that McDaniels has rejected a job for which he’d already been formally announced, he’ll likely be a hard sell for other vacancies in the future. As such, it’s difficult to imagine that McDaniels hasn’t been told that he’ll be Belichick’s successor.
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