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McDaniels Reportedly Open to Head Coaching Offers Again

November 6, 2018

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could be looking for a head coaching job. AP PHOTO Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

By Cindy Boren

The Washington Post

The offensive coordinator’s resume includes success with Tom Brady and a fistful of Super Bowl rings. Ordinarily, that combination would make NFL general managers salivate as they begin to contemplate coaching changes.

But after what happened with Josh McDaniels and the Indianapolis Colts last February, has enough time passed for his success to outweigh the ugliness of his nanosecond tenure with Indy?

McDaniels “is open to potential head coaching opportunities,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday, and he is reportedly on the Cleveland Browns’ list of candidates to replace Hue Jackson, who was fired last week. That’s an interesting development, given that McDaniels was set to become the coach of the Colts before backing out the night before he was to be introduced in a news conference. McDaniels, 42, opted to remain in New England and reportedly became the league’s highest paid coordinator when he agreed to a five-year deal with the team. There also was speculation that he returned because he is Bill Belichick’s heir apparent, although Belichick, at 66, shows no signs of retiring anytime soon.

In his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan” show Monday morning, Brady pointed out that McDaniels remains under contract, not that that has previously stopped anyone in pro sports from moving on.

“Josh will have as much opportunity as anyone out there because he’s the best in the league at what he does,” Brady said. “Everyone is going to want that. I know the Patriots want him coaching for us. He’s under contract with our team for a long time, and that is a great thing for the Patriots.”

Other possible Browns candidates include Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley, Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, and Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

The Browns, stocked with plenty of talent and a promising rookie quarterback in Baker Mayfield, will be an attractive destination, but there may be other openings as well. McCarthy, for instance, is doing himself no favors with his play-calling for Aaron Rodgers, who has passive aggressively questioned his head coach. There’s a growing perception that Green Bay is wasting the prime of Rodgers, who turns 35 next month.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly are “nearing a breaking point” with coach Dirk Koetter. Tampa Bay already fired its defensive coordinator and benched quarterback Jameis Winston, and might be running out of people to blame.

Over the weekend, ESPN reported that the Ravens’ John Harbaugh is on the hot seat; Sunday’s loss to the Steelers can’t have helped. Other teams that have to be considering their options include the Bills, Jaguars, Cowboys and maybe even the Jets and Broncos. Still, it’s too early to determine which teams will certainly be making changes -- remember when Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin was on the hot seat?

In any case, NFL observers haven’t forgotten how the Colts’ coaching search went down in February. “We were disappointed. Unquestionably, we were disappointed and surprised,” Colts General Manager Chris Ballard told reporters after McDaniels called him the night before his Wednesday introductory news conference. “We had an agreement in place [but no contract]; had two interviews. Both went very well. [We were] very confident even Tuesday morning. Then I got a call Tuesday evening saying he had changed his mind and was going in a different direction.”

In a five-minute phone call, Ballard said, McDaniels told him he had “bad news” to deliver. “I just said, ‘Are you in or out?’” the GM recalled, and that was that. Instead, McDaniels stayed in new England - in part, he said, because he didn’t want to uproot his four children from their schools.

The Patriots and Colts have a contentious history, including most notably the Deflategate drama the Colts prompted after a 2015 loss to New England in the AFC championship game. Ballard went on to make a smart hire in the Eagles’ Frank Reich, but admitted at the time to having a healthy memory.

“The rivalry,” he told reporters in February, “is back on.”

The McDaniels resume includes a stop as an NFL head coach in Denver. He was fired less than halfway through his four-year, $8-million deal after going 11-17.

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