Colts GM Ballard: "I Wish Josh McDaniels Nothing But the Best"
INDIANAPOLIS -- Less than one day after Josh McDaniels accepted, and then rejected, the title of “Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts”, General Manager Chris Ballard addressed the media at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Ballard chose to begin his press conference with a tribute to linebacker Edwin Jackson and Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe. Both men were killed in a traffic accident on Sunday morning.
“Sunday was a very difficult day. My thoughts were not even close to the head coaching search; my thoughts were with Edwin and Jeffrey. I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. My mind was around Edwin and his family; Jeffrey and his family. That’s where my mind was," said Ballard.
Sunday’s tragic events, he says, really put things in perspective:
“I want all of you to make sure that you keep in perspective what it’s important in life and that’s human life. That’s people, how we treat people, telling the people that you’re close to that you love them every day because tomorrow is not promised to any of us. It’s not."
Ballard promised the Jackson and Monroe families that "our thoughts are prayers are with you" and that the organization will be with them every step of the way.
He continued by saying how very honored he was to have had someone like Edwin Jackson in the Colts organization:
"What Edwin stood for, the type of kid he was, how he wanted to be great at football, how he wanted to make a difference in other people's lives, and that's important. It's important that we remember him for the things he stood for and we will as an organization.”
THE DEPARTURE OF MCDANIELS
The deal between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels appeared so final that on Tuesday afternoon, the team announced McDaniels’ hiring on social media and planned a press conference for Wednesday morning.
But, at around 7:40 Tuesday evening, the deal between McDaniels and the Colts fell apart.
Stunner: Patriots’ OC Josh McDaniels has decided NOT to accept Colts’ HC job and will remain with New England, sources told ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 7, 2018
Ballard says Josh McDaniels called him at around 7:15 or 7:30 p.m. The call lasted about five minutes.
"He said he had bad news for me. I said, 'I just need a yes or no answer.' We went around for a minute. He said he's out. I said, 'Okay, we're going to move forward and I wish you nothing but the best going forward," Ballard said.
He said that he's thought a lot about the team's decision to announce the deal with McDaniels before the contract had been signed.
"I’ve thought a lot about that, but I was very confident. That’s on me, that’s not on our organization. That’s on me. I was very confident that a deal was in place and that we were going to move forward and be having a press conference today at 3:30 [p.m.]. That’s on me.”
The search for a new head coach has resumed, and Ballard says the team will keep moving forward despite the obstacles in their way.
“Obstacles happen. That’s what makes this league great. Overcoming the hard times, that’s what makes football great. That’s what the great lesson of football is, that it doesn’t always work out or go the way we mapped it out or we planned it.
But it’s the mentally tough, gritty people that overcome these things that are successful. That is what we’re going to be built on. 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.”
Now, he said, it's time to move forward with the search and find the next guy.
“There’s a lot of good coaches out there...a lot of good assistant coaches out there. Everybody gets in panic mode and just starts hiring, and I just don’t believe in that. We will get the right leader for this organization. We will get good assistant coaches, and we’re going to win.”
Just don’t expect Ballard to put a timetable on when all of these things will happen. He doesn't have a timetable, and that's the way he likes it.
“To me, it’s about being right. You’ve got to be right. It doesn’t matter if you’re the first out of the box and everybody praises you or you are the last one to make the hire. We want to be right. [But] we're going to get it up moving quickly. I'm not gonna put a number on it, but we'll get moving quickly with our interviews.”
Ballard did not list off specific candidates he's going after, but said he has a "list of guys" he keeps with him and will be going over that list.
ANDREW LUCK'S HEALTH
Much like the talk of the coaching search, Ballard said the best thing to do is be patient when it comes to the health of Quarterback Andrew Luck.
"We feel very strongly that Andrew is in a good place. He doesn't need surgery. I've not gotten that from the two doctors that he's seen after the season. His strength is good. He's working on his throwing motion. He's working on his arm speed right now. He's not picked up a football yet, but he's not going to skip a step."
"He's going to do everything right to get himself ready to play. I'm confident and he's very confident that he's going to come back and prove a lot of people wrong. I'm going to listen Andrew Luck, who I absolutely believe in and trust. I'm going to listen to the doctors he is talking to and dealing with. I'm going to listen to the guy who's training him right now."
Ballard was asked if the doctors think he may need another surgery.
"I don't know if with the shoulder you could accurately ever assess where you're at. It's a very subjective part of the body, especially with a thrower like Andrew. But I know what we're being told right now and we're very confident going forward," Ballard said.
BEFORE HE LEFT THE PODIUM
Right before he left the podium to conclude the press conference, Ballard had one final thought when it came to the Josh McDaniels/New England Patriots saga:
"The rivalry is back on."
(PHOTO: Colts_Getty_Jeffrey Vest_Icon Sportswire)