Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard spoke at a press conference on Wednesday in the aftermath of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels spurning his franchise after initially agreeing to terms on their vacant head coaching job.
Despite the initial surprise and disappointment of McDaniels’ flip-flopping, Ballard insisted that the Colts franchise will once again persevere:
“It’s the mentally tough, gritty people that overcome these things that are successful. That is what we’re going to be built on,” Ballard said. “That’s what this city is built on. That’s what this organization is built on, and you can bet we’re going to get there unquestionably.”
Likewise, Ballard already has a list of potential candidates who will be interviewed shortly, which reportedly includes Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich and New Orleans Saints assistant head coach and tight ends coach Dan Campbell among others:
“We’ve had a list of candidates,” Ballard said. “I’ve had them from the get go. Look there’s a timeframe. There’s other guys we wanted to interview but because of the playoffs, we weren’t able to do.”
“As a GM, you always keep a list of guys. You have a contact of people of who you are going to potentially hire, and all of them are on board with where we’re going.”
When asked whether he had any inclination of McDaniels getting cold feet before officially inking a contract with the Colts, Ballard responded, “No, not at all. Not until Tuesday evening. Not at all.”
Ballard shared briefly how the conversation went with McDaniels upon being informed of his abrupt and surprising decision to stay in New England:
“He said he had bad news for me,” Ballard said on McDaniels. “I said I just need a yes or no answer, are you in or out? We went around for a minute, and he said he was out, and I said okay, we’re going to move forward. I wish you the best of luck.”
“I live in a black and white world,” added Ballard later. “You’re either in or you’re out. I didn’t want the explanation.”
“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. We’ve got work to do. I’ve not once hid that. I want someone who’s 100% committed to partnering with us and getting that work done.”
“It was a short conversation. Let me say this, Josh McDaniels is a good football coach, and I wish him the best going forward.”
As usual, Ballard looked poised, articulate, and a bit more fiery than we’ve seen in prior press conferences–and rightfully so, given the bush league move that McDaniels just pulled at the 12th hour before officially joining the Colts as their next head coach.
He concluded the press conference by defiantly saying, “The rivalry is back on,” regarding his team’s past heated competition and history with the New England Patriots organization.