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Joe Thomas slams Colts for Jeff Saturday hire: ‘Most egregious thing I can ever remember’

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The decision by the Colts to hire Jeff Saturday, longtime Colts center, to be the interim head coach despite no previous NFL or college experience has been a head-scratcher across the NFL. Former Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas didn’t mince words when talking about how he feels about the decision.

While on “Good Morning Football,” Thomas laid into both the Colts and Saturday for the decision to make the former ESPN analyst the head coach in Indianapolis, calling it the “most egregious thing I can ever remember happening in the NFL.”

MORE: Meet the Colts’ new 30-year-old play-caller

“When you hire your drinking buddy to be the head coach of an NFL football team, it is one of the most disrespectful things I’ve ever seen in my entire life to the commitment, the lifestyle and the experience that it takes to be an NFL coach, any coach, much less the head coach of the Indianapolis football Colts,” Thomas said.

“You have got to be kidding me that this is something that [Colts owner] Jim Irsay and Jeff Saturday, who’s not blameless for accepting the job could have talked and decided that this was the best thing for the Indianapolis Colts at this juncture of the season.”

MORE: Colts’ hiring of Jeff Saturday has left NFL Network and ESPN analysts sparring on social media

Thomas talked about his time living next door to Rob Chudzinski, who was the head coach of the Browns in 2013. He said that Chudzinski saw his kids once a week during weeks with a road game, when he would pick them up from school on Fridays at 3 to get ice cream before dropping them off at home and going tack to the office. He would see them twice when it was a home game, with a visit on Saturday afternoon.

Thomas said the commitment needed to be a head coach is more than what anyone who hasn’t spent time in the locker room can understand, and he explained it’s why he never imagined himself becoming a coach in the NFL.

“That’s a lifestyle. That’s who you are. That’s not something you can just show up for. It’s not something you sign up for midseason. This is something that changes your life when you decide to be a coach,” Thomas said. “So the disrespect that NFL coaches have to feel when they saw that this hire was made is higher than almost anything I can ever possibly remember in the NFL.”

MORE: ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky suggests interest in joining Jeff Saturday’s Colts staff

Thomas further doubled down by calling out Irsay for defending the decision to hire Saturday as a positive because he didn’t have any experience and that he wasn’t scared of the NFL.

“If you didn’t already insult every person that’s worked their entire life to be a head coach in the NFL, then to go up there and say, ‘I like that he’s got no experience because all y’all NFL coaches are scared because you use logic and analytics to make decisions,'” Thomas said. “I was happily eating some fine French food and drinking French wine because I was in France with my kids earlier in the week. But when I saw this, I thought it was a joke. I thought maybe I had a little Google Translate and all of a sudden, I’m in the wrong calendar and it’s April 1st or something going on.”

Saturday, a six-time Pro Bowl center and Super Bowl champion with the Colts, was an unexpected hire to say the least. His coaching experience consisted of three seasons coaching Hebron Christian Academy in Georgia before resigning in 2020. He has maintained a role as an analyst at ESPN since 2013.

MORE: Saturday tweeted about ‘horrible’ Raiders days before coaching debut vs. Las Vegas

Saturday’s hiring has drawn widespread criticism across the league as bringing to the team someone with no coaching experience past the high school level to be thrust into the middle of an NFL season. 

He’ll make his coaching debut against the Raiders on Sunday and will presumably remain the interim head coach at least through the end of the season. Expect his tenure to be one of the more closely watched head coaching stints in the league as he attempts to turn around the 3-5-1 Colts.


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