Josh McDaniels withdrew from an agreement to become the Indianapolis Colts' head coach and will remain the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator, sources informed of the situation confirmed to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Mike Garafolo on Tuesday. McDaniels' decision was confirmed by the Colts.
"After agreeing to contract terms to become the Indianapolis Colts' new head coach, New England Patriots assistant coach Josh McDaniels this evening informed us that he would not be joining our team," the Colts said in a statement. "Although we are surprised and disappointed, we will resume our head coaching search immediately and find the right fit to lead our team and organization on and off the field."
ESPN first reported McDaniels staying in New England.
The surprising development comes after the Colts announced Tuesday morning they had reached an agreement for McDaniels to become their new coach. Although McDaniels hadn't signed his Colts contract, the team had scheduled his introductory news conference for Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Compounding the issue is that multiple assistant coaches have signed Colts contracts thinking they'd be working with McDaniels. Former Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, who was pegged as McDaniels' defensive coordinator, is among those under contract already. Garafolo reported on NFL Total Access that all indications are Eberflus -- and possibly other coaches -- will remain with the Colts under whomever they hire.
Rapoport added that McDaniels was offering Colts jobs to prospective assistants as late as Tuesday before changing his mind about the job.
Multiple reports last month pegged McDaniels as the Colts' next coach, with the partnership set to be finalized after the Patriots' season ended. McDaniels, considered one of the top NFL head coaching candidates heading into this offseason, interviewed twice with the Colts. However, on Sunday, ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio reported McDaniels was thinking about staying in New England.
The big question is why? McDaniels was on the verge of landing his first head-coaching gig since his stint with the Denver Broncos from 2009-10. The surprising reversal comes two days after the Patriots' 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
New England's legacy of success, which McDaniels has been part of, might have played a role in convincing him to stay. He has won five Super Bowls in New England since joining Bill Belichick's staff in 2001. His tutelage of Tom Brady -- arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history -- has made him a popular name among head-coaching searches for years, despite his disappointing stint with the Broncos. With defensive coordinator Matt Patricia taking over the Detroit Lions' coaching job, McDaniels will help Belichick maintain some continuity at the highest levels of his staff.
The Colts were hoping some of that success would rub off on their franchise, which hasn't made the postseason since losing to the Patriots in the now infamous 2014 AFC Championship Game. The team fired coach Chuck Pagano after a disappointing 4-12 season without injured quarterback Andrew Luck.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard now faces the unenviable task of trying to find a coach with the prime pool of coaching candidates no longer available. Getting a new coach into Indy before the start of the NFL Scouting Combine likely will be a priority for Ballard in the weeks ahead.
It remains to be seen who will emerge as the leading candidate for Indy's coaching vacancy. Many of the candidates the Colts interviewed last month -- Matt Nagy, Steve Wilks, Mike Vrabel, Kris Richard -- have accepted jobs with other teams.