BOSTON (CBS) –It’s been three months since Josh McDaniels spurned the Indianapolis Colts and returned to the New England Patriots.
He didn’t take the job and resign on a napkin a day later, like Bill Belichick did with the New York Jets before coming to New England, but turning down a head coaching gig to return as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator was a stunning move. And aside from an interview with the Boston Globe, it was a decision he didn’t say much about publicly.
But on Friday, McDaniels spoke with the media for the first time of the 2018 season, expanding on his choice to leave the Colts at the head coaching altar. While it was a difficult decision to make, he said he’s thankful for the way things worked out.
“Those things are not easy decisions to make. A lot of us have had to make decisions, what we feel is best for ourselves, our career, our family, and, I’m thankful to be here,” McDaniels told reporters at Gillette Stadium. “This has been a great place for me. It’s benefited me and my family. We’re grateful to have an opportunity to work for Mr. Kraft and his family, to coach for Bill, and to be with the staff every day, and the players we have an opportunity to work with every day. It really is an opportunity that you have to cherish and be grateful for every day, and I certainly am.”
The Colts announced their hiring of McDaniels and even had an introductory press conference scheduled before he backed out of that agreement. He still wants to have a team of his own, but at just 42 years old, McDaniels knows another opportunity will come in the near future.
“I’ve stated again and again that I want to be a head coach again. At the same time, I love being here,” he said. “This is where my kids are born and raised. We’ve made a pretty special life here. That’s not an easy thing to leave. So, there’s a lot to consider. Certainly, leaving here, I don’t take lightly, ever. I would never take that lightly. It was a difficult process. I’m very happy with the decision we made.”
Many speculate that the next opportunity for McDaniels will be in New England, and that Belichick and Kraft were able to convince him to return by anointing him Belichick’s successor. McDaniels said that was not the case on Friday.
“I mean, my role is the same. Look, I think if you’re here, you have an opportunity to work with and for some of the best people in our game, maybe some of the best people who have ever done those things in our game,” said McDaniels. “I feel like it’s a great opportunity to be here in my role. I think all of us feel that way.
“I’ve been here for a long time. There’s a lot you get to build on and try to get better at your profession. Whatever happens in the future is going to happen,” he said. “I’ll be happy with whatever that is. I just know I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be the offensive coordinator here, coaching quarterbacks, working with the offense, and working for the people I work for.”
McDaniels also said he’s been in touch with both Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, who remain absent from the team during involuntary workouts. McDaniels, who is also the quarterbacks coach, isn’t too concerned about Brady not being on the field with the Patriots at the moment.
“I have no doubt that he’s doing what he thinks is right for him and his family. I completely respect that,” he said. “I know he’ll be ready to go. I know he’ll be in good shape, good condition. I’m sure he’s working really hard. I’m not really worried about that.”