The Indianapolis Colts hired former Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday as the team’s interim head coach following the firing of Frank Reich, and the move has left many people baffled with the decision. Saturday’s lack of coaching experience is why many were surprised that Colts owner Jim Irsay went with Saturday as the choice. 

In fact, Saturday’s sole coaching experience came as head coach of Hebron Christian Academy, a college preparatory school in Georgia, from 2017–2020. 

“I am glad he doesn’t have any NFL experience,” said Irsay, whose thoughts are not exactly shared by everyone in the NFL world.

Former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas did not hold back when discussing the hiring. He had strong words for a move he feels is insulting to the league.

“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 have 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 Friday on “Good Morning Football.” 

The 10-time Pro Bowler is not just putting blame on ownership, but also questions why Saturday even said “yes” to the position.  

“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,” Thomas continued. 

Thomas also brought up how he believes it looks to other NFL coaches, saying it takes more commitment and time than just stepping into the role this fast.

“That’s not just something you can show up for. … So the disrespect NFL coaches have to feel when they saw that this hire was made is higher than almost anything I can possibly remember in the NFL,” Thomas said. “And then to defend the decision by saying, ‘I’m happy he doesn’t have experience?'”

Irsay and Saturday have both defended the move, with the owner saying no NFL experience means he comes with less baggage in tough in-game situations. 

“I’m glad he hasn’t learned the fear that’s in this league because it’s tough for all of our coaches,” Irsay said. “They’re afraid. They go to analytics and it gets difficult. I mean, he doesn’t have all that. He doesn’t have that fear and there was no other candidate.”

Saturday doesn’t promise he’ll be good at the job, but says no matter what he isn’t backing down from the challenge. He says his locker room and playoff experience paired with how long he spent in the NFL at a high level of play makes him an appropriate candidate for the job.

Saturday was with the Colts from 1999-2011, winning a Super Bowl in that time. He ended his career in Green Bay, playing his final season for the Packers. His resume as a player includes a two-time First-Team All-Pro, six Pro Bowl selections and a spot in the Colts’ Ring of Honor.

Being a great player certainly doesn’t mean he will be a great coach and he is coming in to take over a team with a losing record (3-5-1) and inconsistent quarterback play with second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger as its starter. There will certainly be a lot on Saturday’s plate as a first-time head coach.

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