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hongwei28 Offline
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Colts general manager Chis Ballard showed up for a news conference Wednesday – just not the one he expected.

Instead of introducing Josh McDaniels as the team’s new head coach Tom Rathman Jersey , Ballard stood in front of reporters trying to explain why New England’s longtime offensive coordinator reneged on a deal he initially accepted.

But if Ballard’s disgust about losing his top choice wasn’t clear from the occasional glare or the strong pitch in his voice, he left no doubt with one parting shot.

”The rivalry is back on,” he said before leaving.

Conducting a coaching search in February isn’t what Ballard or Indy envisioned when Chuck Pagano was fired just hours after Indy completed a 4-12 season on Dec. 31.

Exactly 24 hours after announcing McDaniels’ hiring on the team’s Twitter account and roughly 16 hours after he called back to tell Ballard he was out, the search begins anew for the jilted Colts.

Their other finalist, Mike Vrabel, has already taken the Tennessee job. Another top-tier candidate, Mike Nagy, has already been hired in Chicago. Baylor coach Matt Rhule, who also interviewed for the job, is back on campus getting ready for spring football. And it’s unclear where the Colts may turn next.

”We have a list of candidates, I’ve had them from the get-go,” Ballard said. ”There are other guys we wanted to interview, but because of the playoffs, we weren’t able to.

”We’ll move forward with them and we will get the right leader for the Indianapolis Colts – one that believes what we believe and wants to go where we want to go. I’m very confident in this.”

Ballard didn’t name names, of course, nor did he provide a timetable.

Oddly, the timing could present Indy with a unique opportunity to pick off a candidate who might emerge as a top candidate on next year’s coaching carousel.

Several possibilities exist including Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who was part of a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots with a backup quarterback.

The good news for Indy is that the only coaching vacancy still looks pretty attractive – if Andrew Luck is healthy.

Indy still has Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton, Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle, a revamped defense that showed major improvement as last season went along, the No. 3 pick in the draft and about $80 million to spend in free agency.

Luck, meanwhile, continues to be the big question as he rehabs from last January’s surgery for a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.

Some believe McDaniels’ sudden change of heart was related to doubts about Luck’s health.

Ballard didn’t bother asking McDaniels why he made the decision.

On Wednesday, though, he attempted to alleviate lingering concerns about Luck while acknowledging the franchise quarterback still hasn’t thrown a football since returning from Europe late last year.

”At this point, we feel very strongly that Andrew is in a good place. He doesn’t need surgery Malcolm Smith Jersey ,” Ballard said. ”I have not gotten that from the two doctors that he’s seen here after the season. His strength is good. He’s working on his throwing motion and he’s working on his arm speed right now. He has not picked up a football, but he is throwing balls, working on arm speed.

”He’s going to do everything right to get himself ready to play and I’m very confident, he’s very confident, that he’s going to come back and prove a lot of people wrong,” Ballard added.

McDaniels decision didn’t just leave the Colts in the lurch.

Three assistant coaches – Matt Eberflus, Mike Phair and Dave DeGuglielmo – had already been hired in Indy.

While Ballard said he likes all three and will honor their contracts by keeping them on the next coach’s staff, others strongly criticized McDaniels from walking away from them.

”Haven’t read the article but I can tell you there is NO excuse big enough to justify this,” Dungy wrote on Twitter in response to a story that indicated McDaniels stayed with the Pats because he was more comfortable with the team.

”It’s one thing to go back on your word to an organization. But having assistant coaches leave jobs to go with you then leave them out to dry is indefensible.”

But as the news conference continued, Ballard said people say no to job offers every day, he wished McDaniels well at the end of Tuesday night’s brief call and that his primary concern now is finding someone who wants the job.

”To me, it’s about being right,” Ballard said. ”You’ve got to be right. It doesn’t matter if you’re the first out of the box and everybody praises you or you are the last one to make the hire. We want to be right.”



As much as Saints All-Pro Cam Jordan admires his father, Steve, and effusively praises the former Minnesota Vikings tight end, he hasn’t been able to resist the urge to be his own man.

Cam Jordan never wanted to play tight end, and acknowledged on Thursday that he doesn’t always follow his father’s advice, either, particularly when it comes to his playful antics and comments when engaging the media.

When Jordan consistently gets the better of an offensive lineman, he’ll refer to him as ”Speed Bump Magee.” After last Sunday’s playoff victory over Carolina, Jordan conspicuously positioned a bottle of Jordan cabernet (not a family business) on the top shelf of his locker and pledged to send his namesake wine to his namesake star quarterback, Cam Newton.

Jordan said his father, ”always tries to tone me back. He’s always like, `Hey, dude, have you thought about the ramifications?”’

”No Robbie Gould Jersey , I haven’t. I shot my shot and said what I said and had to back it up,” the younger Jordan continued. ”At 28, I’m in my physical prime so at this point I feel like I can back it up.”

Indeed, Jordan was named first-team Associated Press All-Pro for the first time in his career this season – his seventh since being New Orleans’ first of two first-round draft choices in 2011 out of California. The 6-foot-4, 287-pound edge rusher had 13 sacks, 17 tackles for losses, 28 QB hits, 11 passes defended (mostly batted passes), an interception and two forced fumbles.

Teammates marvel at his conditioning, boundless energy and how he hardly ever misses a defensive snap.

In last weekend’s wild-card round playoff triumph over the Panthers , Jordan not only had a sack, a tackle for loss, a QB hit and two batted passes, but he also forced Cam Newton into a pivotal intentional grounding penalty. That play turned a second-and-10 at the Saints 21-yard line with 41 seconds left into third-and-23 at the New Orleans 34 – with just 19 seconds to go after a 10-second runoff for an offensive penalty in the final minute. The Panthers could not recover in a 31-26 loss.

Now Jordan is preparing for a high-stakes playoff clash in Minnesota, where he spent his early childhood while his father was being named to Pro Bowls – six in all – for the Vikings. Jordan knows plenty about Vikings history, but doesn’t sound too sentimental about it.

”I want to destroy them just the same,” Jordan said. ”There’s going to be an offensive line that I want to destroy. There’s going to be a running back I want to destroy. There’s going to be a quarterback that I have to destroy.”

Cam Jordan said he expects his father and brother to be at the game, along with old family friends from the area. Whether he brings along another bottle of his namesake wine is to be determined, he said.

Steve Jordan’s career ended in 1994, when Cam was 5. Soon after, they moved to Arizona.

The elder Jordan described himself as ”pretty jovial” and someone who ”could get goofy on occasion.” But Cam, he said, is ”full-on most of the time.”

”He’s just a fun-loving guy. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, doesn’t take life too seriously,” Steve Jordan said. ”But this game of football, particularly now K'Waun Williams Jersey , he’s definitely taking that serious. And he’s really focused, and I like that.”

The younger Jordan considers the Phoenix area his home, as he says, because that’s where he had his first kiss and learned how to drive. He doesn’t get all that nostalgic about returning to Minneapolis.

”I remember jumping in some leaves, getting so cold outside we got locked out of a car,” Jordan said with a chuckle. But he also fondly remembers meeting a number of ”my dad’s co-workers, and they turned out to be legends. You talk about (defensive end) Chris Doleman, you talk about (safety) Joey Browner, (running back) Darrin Nelsons of the game. I won’t talk about Herschel Walker, because he ruined (that) franchise.

”You grow up and you get drafted by the Saints,” Jordan added. ”This is my team. This is my family.”

Saints coach Sean Payton generally urges his players to refrain from providing opponents with bulletin-board material, but didn’t sound inclined to rein in Jordan.

”It’s just Cam’s personality,” Payton said. ”He’s humorous and I think he genuinely enjoys what he does and that’s just how it’s expressed. Outside of that, I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Likewise, Vikings offensive linemen didn’t sound inclined to talk tough about shutting up Jordan. They deferred to a more respectful approach.

”He’s had a great career, great year, and it’s going to be a tough battle,” Vikings offensive tackle Mike Remmers said. ”The first thing that we’d like to do is just block him. … He’s just fast, physical, just a smart player. He’s really got a little bit of everything.”

Vikings QB Case Keenum called Jordan ”a really talented player” who ”creates a lot of havoc in the backfield in the run or pass game – a guy that we need to know where he’s at at all times.”

Odds are, they’ll hear him coming.



AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, contributed to this report.

01-15-2019 10:11 AM
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