It’s no secret that Jim Irsay’s Indianapolis Colts aren’t exactly the most stable team in the NFL, and the rumors that he asked Jon Gruden about coaching the team have done nothing to quell the notion that they are a dysfunctional mess.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday morning that Irsay did “pursue Jon Gruden, but Gruden resisted overtures.”
In response, Gruden said, “I know nothing. I’ve told people, I’m not coaching. I’m a broadcaster, I’m not a coach.”
This is something Gruden has maintained as his status quo all offseason, but it’s important to know Gruden didn’t exactly say he was never contacted by Irsay. He simply said he’s not coaching. That’s a huge distinction that cannot be lost on us here.
What makes this report all the more intriguing is that Irsay has maintained that Chuck Pagano’s job was safe this offseason (more on that here). Clearly, this stance isn’t as rock solid as Irsay would have us believe, and Schefter reports sources saying the owner was “very unhappy” with the team’s performance in 2016 when it went 8-8.
On that note, Colts players are reportedly feeling a bit discombobulated by the Gruden report as well.
Irsay has to deal with this, stat: The Colts look dysfunctional right now. I've had multiple players reach out desperately asking questions.
— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) January 14, 2017
Players don’t want to head into the offseason in limbo. They want to know what they can expect next season. More than that, they want to know that, when an owner makes a statement of support for his head coach that he isn’t secretly working behind his back to potentially replace him. That’s just basic trust.
Now, we should never be mad that a team wants to upgrade at any position, be it on the roster, the coaching staff or in the front office. But dishonesty isn’t something anyone tolerates well. It’s not surprising that the players are confused and uncertain about what’s going on, and they have every right to feel that way.