Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard told reporters on Wednesday that he was disappointed that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels opted out of a deal to become the team’s next head coach.
Ballard said that McDaniels agreed to accept the position and that the Colts had planned a press conference to officially announce the move on Wednesday. Instead, that press conference was altered with Ballard speaking in front of reporters.
“With Josh backing out, we were disappointed, unquestionably: We were disappointed and surprised,” Ballard said. “We’d agreed to contract terms. We had an agreement in place. We followed all the rules, did everything right. Two interviews, both of them went very well. Very confident we were going in the right direction, very confident Monday evening and into Tuesday morning.”
On Tuesday evening, reports surfaced that McDaniels had a change of heart about taking the position. The Colts confirmed the reports with a statement of their own.
Ballard was asked about the conversation with McDaniels when he was informed that the latter wouldn’t be accepting the position.
“He said he had bad news for me,” Ballard said. “I just said, I just needed a yes-or-no answer. ‘Are you in or out?’ We went around for a minute and he said he’s out, and I said, ‘OK. We’re going to move forward and I wish you the best of luck.'”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter originally reported on Tuesday that McDaniels decided not to accept the job and will stay with the Patriots, who lost 41-33 to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis on Sunday.
My thoughts on @Colts GM Chris Ballard‘s Press Conference. Move over Gary Oldman(Darkest Hour). Chris Ball deserves the Academy Award for that Press Conference and he was not acting! @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/mRmCjxZEQ3
— Charley Casserly (@CharleyCasserly) February 7, 2018
Schefter reported that Patriots owner Robert Kraft began talking with the 41-year-old McDaniels and ultimately wound up sweetening his contract, which was a factor in him staying in New England.
Ballard said he wasn’t interested in persuading McDaniels to change his mind.
“There was no persuasion. Let me make this clear. I want, and we want as an organization, a head coach that wants to be all in,” Ballard said. “We got work to do. I’ve not once hid that. We have work to do. And I want someone that’s 100 percent committed to partnering with us and getting that work done.”
Now, Ballard is just interested in moving forward.
“You can bet we’re going to get there. Unquestionably, we’re going to get there. We have a list of candidates — we’ve had them from the get go,” Ballard said. “We’ll move forward with them and we will get the right leader for the Indianapolis Colts — one that believes what we believe and wants to go where we want to go. I’m very confident in this.”
The Colts fired coach Chuck Pagano moments after the team closed its 4-12 season with a 22-13 win over the Houston Texans.
In seven seasons at the helm of the Colts, Pagano posted a 53-43 record that included an appearance in the 2014 AFC Championship Game. Indianapolis has failed to make the postseason in three straight seasons.
From 2012-14, Pagano led the team to three consecutive 11-5 seasons and playoff appearances. Pagano coached 10 Pro Bowl players during his tenure with the Colts.