The Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Josh McDaniels has backed out of a deal to become the Indianapolis’ Colts new coach, a decision that shocked the franchise hours after it announced his hiring.
The Colts confirmed McDaniels’ decision in a statement Tuesday night after reports emerged that the Patriots’ offensive coordinator had opted to stay in New England with coach Bill Belichick.
McDaniels had agreed to contract terms with the Colts to replace the fired Chuck Pagano, and a news conference had been scheduled for Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Just a few hours later, the Colts said McDaniels informed them he would not sign the deal.
“Although we are surprised and disappointed, we will resume our head coaching search immediately and find the right fit to lead our team and organization on and off the field,” the Colts said in the statement.
The Patriots and McDaniels’ agent, Bob LaMonte, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“I’m speechless,” former Colts receiver Reggie Wayne told NFL Network. “I’ve talked with people in the Colts organization and they feel like they’ve been hoodwinked.”
It’s also not clear how the Colts will proceed from here.
By spurning Indy after it waited 22 days for the playoffs to end, McDaniels leaves the franchise as the only one without a coach — in early February.
New England’s defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia, left Belichick’s staff a day after the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss to become coach of the Detroit Lions.
Indy had interviewed several candidates for the job, including two that were hired by other teams — Matt Nagy went to Chicago and Mike Vrabel to Tennessee. Another potential candidate, Baylor coach Matt Rhule, had already announced he was returning to the college ranks before the Colts had settled on McDaniels, who at age 41 is considered one of the game’s best young minds.
He’s been considered a top-tier head coaching candidate for several years even though his only other coaching stint with Denver ended badly. He went 8-8 with the Broncos in 2009 and 3-9 in 2010 before he was fired with three games left in the season.