Joe Thomas Torches Jim Irsay, Colts for Hiring Jeff Saturday as Interim HC

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Indianapolis Colts (3-5-1) and team owner Jim Irsay made a rather bold move Monday, hiring team legend Jeff Saturday as interim head coach.

Indianapolis hired Saturday, who has zero collegiate or professional coaching experience, on the heels of firing Frank Reich after four-plus seasons. Former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas is just the latest to rip the move apart. Appearing on Friday’s “Good Morning Football” on NFL Network from Munich, Thomas called the hire the “most egregious thing” he has ever seen in the league.

“When I saw this, I thought it was a joke,” Thomas said, via Pro Football Talk. “It was the most egregious thing I can ever remember happening in the NFL, and I went 1-31 my last two years in the NFL.”

Thomas cast part of the blame on Saturday for accepting the job.

“When you hire your drinking buddy to be the head coach of an NFL football team, it is one of the most disrespectful things I’ve ever seen in my entire life to the commitment, the lifestyle, and the experience that it takes to be an NFL coach — any coach — much less the head coach of the Indianapolis Football Colts,” Thomas said. “You have got to be kidding me that this is something that Jim Irsay and Jeff Saturday, who’s not blameless for accepting the job, could have talked and decided that this was the best thing for the Indianapolis Colts at this juncture of the season.”

Colts Interim HC Jeff Saturday Not Backing Down

While Saturday has never coached collegiately or professionally, he has briefly served as a high school head football coach. As head coach at Hebron Christian Academy in Dacula, Georgia, from 2017-20, Saturday guided the team to a 20-16 record.

Despite his limited coaching experience, Saturday said he is confident that he can lead a squad of 53 men.

“Here’s the deal,” Saturday said Wednesday. “Everybody talks about my [inexperience]. I’m completely comfortable in who I am as a man. I know I can lead men. I know the game of football and I’m passionate about it. … Bro, I spent 14 years in a locker room. I went to the playoffs 12 times. I got five dudes in the Hall of Fame that played with [me]. You don’t think I’ve seen greatness? You don’t think I’ve seen how people prepare, how they coach, how they [manage], how they work?

“I mean, won a Super Bowl, been to two. Here’s the deal, man. None of us are promised a good job. I may be terrible at this and, after eight games, I’ll say, ‘God bless you. I’m no good.’ I may be really good at it. I’ve got no idea, but I dang sure ain’t going to back down.”

Peyton Manning Reacts to Colts Hiring Jeff Saturday

One of those Hall of Fame teammates is quarterback Peyton Manning. The two played together in Indianapolis from 1999-2011, appearing in two Super Bowls and winning one (2006). During ESPN‘s “ManningCast” Monday, Manning talked about the hire, calling Saturday a “great leader.”

“I was surprised, I didn’t know anything about it,” Manning said. “I talked to Jeff. It’s a big challenge. Jeff’s made of the right stuff; he was the ultimate teammate. My locker was right next to him. He’s a high-character guy. He’s a great leader.”