Saturday and Irsay talked Sunday night and on Monday morning Saturday accepted the job.
“It was a 12-hour whirlwind,” Saturday said.
A longtime ESPN analyst, Saturday was asked what his take would be on a situation such as this.
“I would be shocked, as well, and probably the same questions you asked,” Saturday said. “I asked Mr. Irsay ‘tell me why I’m a candidate you would consider in any role’ to do this. Look, I’ve been consulting here for a couple years with Frank and Chris and [Colts offensive line coach Chris Strausser] and a bunch of different people. I’ve met with coaches around the NFL and college and I felt very prepared.”
Prior to Monday, Saturday had been a paid consultant for the Colts and Ballard noted the team had offered him a job in 2019 as the offensive line coach.
Believed to be the first former player with no college or pro coaching experience to be named a head coach since Pro Football Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin became the Minnesota Vikings’ first head coach in 1961, Saturday’s experience on the sidelines came in high school.
He was an assistant for two seasons at Hebron Christian Academy in Dacula, Georgia, before he took over as head coach from 2017-2019 and garnered a 21-16 record, per the school.
As a player, Saturday was a 14-year NFL veteran and was a five-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and one-time Super Bowl champion during his 13 seasons with the Colts.
He’s diving in quickly, as he announced Monday that quarterback Sam Ehlinger would remain the starter and he was currently interviewing in-house candidates to be the play-caller. Reich previously called plays and former offensive coordinator Marcus Brady was fired prior to Reich’s dismissal.
Though his franchise could be considered calamitous right now, Irsay was noticeably excited about bringing Saturday on.
“This is for eight games, hopefully more,” Irsay said.
Irsay added he did not know what he and Ballard would have done if Saturday wasn’t available or had declined the job. He did note that the team would conduct a full hiring process at season’s end. As Saturday has been hired on an interim basis, there was no violation of the Rooney Rule, which Irsay pointed out while adding all protocols would be followed after the current campaign in the subsequent hiring process.
Perhaps fittingly, Saturday’s NFL coaching debut will come on Sunday when the Colts face the host Las Vegas Raiders, as Indy is most certainly rolling the dice on the unknown.
Said Saturday, just as his team’s owner did: “I feel fully capable.”
Image & Story Credit: nfl.com