Frank Reich: "We Will Be The Toughest"
INDIANAPOLIS -- Frank Reich did not act like a man who was the second choice to run the Indianapolis Colts, instead preferring to embrace the opportunity in front of him.
Reich was officially introduced as the Colts' head coach on Tuesday afternoon, ending a whirlwind process that took a stunning detour a week ago when New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels withdrew from an announced agreement to become the Colts' head coach.
Nine days removed from winning a Super Bowl championship as the offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles, Reich told the media that his return to Indianapolis brought him full circle.
"Today is a new chapter and I could not be more excited," said Reich, who started his coaching career as an intern in Indianapolis under Tony Dungy. "This is a great football city and I'm happy to be home to my coaching roots. This is where I got my start, my first coaching job.
"What a better way to get started and there could not be a better way to finish it right here in this great city."
Reich, 56, emerged as the favorite for the job after meeting Friday with general manager Chris Ballard, who addressed the chain of events over the past week without specifically naming McDaniels.
"So we don't always choose what happens to us, but what we get a chance to do is choose how we react to it and I really believe that shows what we're made of," said Ballard, who praised the city and the team's fans for their handling of the coaching carousel. "I feel very fortunate that he's our head coach."
Reich, a quarterback for 14 NFL seasons, most notably as Jim Kelly's backup with the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s, could not entirely avoid the elephant in the room. Asked by a reporter if he hated or loved McDaniels for causing the recent events that transpired, Reich didn't dodge the question and drew applause by simply saying: "The backup role has suited me well in my career."
Reich laid out his coaching vision in what was tantamount to a four-down coaching plan, vowing that four hallmarks will be on display every time the Colts take the field.
"We will be the toughest, both mentally and physically. ... There will be a relentless pursuit to get better every day. And an obsession to finishing strong," said Reich. "Secondly, we will be the most disciplined team.
"Thirdly, we're going to be the most prepared team. ... And fourth, we're going to be the most united team. We're going to be a close team. It's going to be built around trust, respect and love -- a love of the game."
Jim Irsay, the team owner and CEO, called Reich "a perfect fit" for the franchise and predicted big things in the future under Reich's direction.
"We feel very blessed," said Irsay. "Colts Nation should sleep well tonight and know going into this year we're in really good hands with our new head coach."
(PHOTO: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)