By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard spoke to the media on Wednesady morning, just hours after getting the news from Josh McDaniels that the Patriots’ offensive coordinator was going to remain in New England and renege on his agreement to become Indy’s head coach.
Ballard was composed throughout the near 30-minute session, expressing numerous times that he harbors no hard feelings toward McDaniels and that the Colts are simply moving forward as an organization.
However, after answering the final question of the press conference and before walking away from the podium, Ballard uttered a phrase that came right out of the Vince McMahon playbook.
“The rivalry is back on,” Ballard stated.
That might have been the case regardless of what was said Wednesday, but it does reflect at the very least a feeling that has to exist within the Colts’ front office. After the firing of Ryan Grigson last January, the Colts seemed to have established a solid relationship with Bill Belichick and the Patriots. They executed two trades — the Dwayne Allen deal, and the Jacoby Brissett-Phillip Dorsett swap — and the move of McDaniels from Foxboro to Indy seemed to indicate the iciness from the previous regime was officially over. That final statement indicates that the two teams are right back to square one.
Ballard said he received a call from McDaniels on Tuesday evening. McDaniels informed Ballard that he had some bad news to deliver before telling Ballard that he’ll be staying in New England.
Ballard said McDaniels had shown zero reservations about taking the job prior to that phone call, but that once McDaniels stated his intentions, the Indianapolis organization moved forward immediately.
“We want a head coach that wants to be all in,” Ballard said.
When asked if he had an emotional reaction, Ballard said his competitiveness sometimes does come out. When asked for owner Jim Irsay’s reaction?
“There’s no doubt that he’s competitive,” Ballard cracked.
Considering McDaniels’ change of heart came after the team had made official announcements and spent the day celebrating the hire on social media and the Colts’ official website, Ballard was asked if he felt betrayed.
“No. People make decisions. People tell people no every day,” Ballard said. “He chose not to be an Indianapolis Colt. That’s OK. We move forward.”
That they do.
The Patriots will host the Colts during the regular season in 2018. It figures to be the newest chapter in a revamped rivalry that just might burn for many years to come.