A retired NFL star has slammed Indianapolis’ “insulting” decision to hire ex-Pro Bowler Jeff Saturday as its new coach, claiming it was a job gifted to owner Jim Irsay’s “drinking buddy”.
The NFL world was left in shock when the Colts declared Saturday as its new head coach – despite having no top level experience.
Saturday is a former Colts star, who claimed a Super Bowl with the team before finishing his career in Green Bay.
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But he’s never worked as an NFL coach, with his most recent venture at a college school in Georgia back in 2020.
Ex-Cleveland star Joe Thomas was scathing in his assessment of Colts owner Irsay’s coach call, claiming he initially thought it was an “April fools joke”.
“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 on Good Morning America.
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“You have got to be kidding me that this is something that 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.”
Thomas described Saturday’s appointment as “disrespectful” to the league’s coaches, who have given up their lives and time with their families to get to where they are.
“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.
“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 will make his coaching debut this weekend against the Raiders, after Frank Reich was fired midweek.
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Remarkably, the Colts are sitting second in the AFC South division – but have just three wins from nine games.
They beat competition heavy weights Kansas City back in Week 3, before successive victories over the Broncos and Jaguars.
But Reich was given his marching orders as the club sunk to a third straight defeat last weekend.
Reich had taken the team to two play offs in his five seasons at the helm, in 2018 and 2020, but his inability to lock down a quarterback has been an issue since Andrew Luck retired in 2019.
He went with Jacoby Brissett to see out 2019, Philip Rivers in 2020, Carson Wentz in 2021 and now Matt Ryan for 2022.
But Ryan has already been benched just seven games into his Colts career.