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Colts Players, Coaches Found out About Jeff Saturday Hire Through Social Media, Texts

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 6, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 26: Head coach Jeff Saturday of the Indianapolis Colts walks off the field after losing to the Los Angeles Chargers at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 26, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Not only was the Indianapolis Colts' hiring of Jeff Saturday a shock to fans around the NFL, even the players were surprised.

According to Zak Keefer of The Athletic, general manager, Chris Ballard, informed the team that Frank Reich had been fired, but didn't tell them who was taking over.

"Within a few hours, they found out like the rest of the world: via Twitter, news alerts on their phones, group texts," Keefer wrote.

Players had assumed either special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone or defensive coordinator Gus Bradley would be elevated to the interim job, per Keefer. Instead, the Colts hired Saturday for the role despite having no coaching experience at either the NFL or college level.

Saturday does have significant experience as a player, playing 13 of his 14 NFL seasons with the Colts while earning six Pro Bowl selections. He helped Indianapolis win the Super Bowl and is in the team's Ring of Honor. The 47-year-old has also worked as an NFL analyst on ESPN.

Despite the credentials, players were still confused by the hire.

"To be honest, it's weird," linebacker Zaire Franklin said. "It's a weird situation."

The move appeared to pay off right away with the Colts defeating the Las Vegas Raiders in Saturday's first game. The team entered that game on a three-game losing streak under Reich, falling to 3-5-1 with an embarrassing 26-3 loss to the New England Patriots a week earlier.

Indianapolis has come back to earth since, however, losing six straight to fall to 4-11-1 entering the final game of the year Sunday against the Houston Texans.

The bold decision by owner Jim Irsay—which was seemingly done without the players in mind—isn't paying off for the Colts.