Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard said on Wednesday that the team was determined to renew its rivalry with the New England Patriots after being jilted by Josh McDaniels.
Patriots offensive coordinator McDaniels dramatically backed out of an agreement to join the Colts as head coach late on Tuesday, opting instead to remain in New England.
The U-turn sent shockwaves across the NFL, with widespread disbelief that McDaniels, 41, had backed out at the 11th hour.
McDaniels’s agent Bob Lamonte said the Patriots coach was “committing professional suicide”, according to ESPN. Lamonte has split with McDaniels following the change of heart.
Former Colts coach Tony Dungy added: “I can tell you there is no excuse big enough to justify this.”
Ballard, who had been due to introduce McDaniels to reporters on Wednesday, instead issued a statement of defiance about the snub, vowing to target the Patriots’ dominance in the AFC.
“The rivalry is back on,” said Ballard, revealing that he had dealt with McDaniels swiftly when he called to break the news of his reversal on Tuesday.
“I just said, ‘I just need a yes or no answer. Are you in or out?’” Ballard said.
“We went around for a minute and he said he’s out and I said: ‘OK, we’re gonna move forward. I wish you the best of luck.’
“There was no persuasion. We have work to do. I want someone that’s 100 percent committed to partnering with us and getting that work done.”
The Colts are now reported to be targeting the Philadelphia Eagles offensive co-ordinator Frank Reich and New Orleans assistant coach Dan Campbell.
“We will get the right leader for the Indianapolis Colts,” Ballard said on Wednesday.