McDaniels still not talking about leaving Colts at alter

The Associated Press

BOSTON — Josh McDaniels sent ripples throughout the NFL with his decision to pull out of an agreement to become the Indianapolis Colts’ head coach.

He has yet to speak publicly about what factored into the 11th hour about-face. But McDaniels’ return as New England’s offensive coordinator keeps a possible successor for Patriots coach Bill Belichick in house.

Belichick gave no indication after the Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia on Sunday night that he plans to exit in 2018. And just last month he said that it was “absolutely” his intention to be back for his 19th season with the Patriots.

But at age 65 he’s also the second-oldest coach in the NFL, behind only Seattle’s Pete Carroll at 66.

McDaniels has been one of the hottest names in coaching searches every offseason over the past three years.

At 41, he’s considered one of the NFL’s brightest young minds. What’s more, McDaniels is someone whom Patriots quarterback Tom Brady trusts and recently called “a great coach and a great friend.”

It’s unclear how McDaniels’ decision will affect him regarding future opportunities with other NFL teams, a gamble should he never get the opportunity to lead the Patriots.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Wednesday that the assistants that McDaniels had already hired to be on his staff would have their contracts honored. If McDaniels ever leaves New England again, he will certainly have some repairs to make to his image around the league.

Responding to a suggestion that comfort with the Patriots might have played a role in McDaniels’ decision, former coach and current NBC football analyst Tony Dungy said in a tweet Wednesday that “there is no excuse big enough to justify this,” adding it was indefensible to leave the assistant coaches he’s hired in limbo.

Charlie Weis, who was Patriots offensive coordinator from 2000 through 2004 and coached alongside McDaniels, is now an analyst on SiriusXM NFL Radio. During an appearance on Mad Dog Sports Radio he called McDaniels’ decision “unbelievable.”

“I know his agent, Bob LaMonte. I had his agent for 15 years,” Weis said. “And I promise you, with 100 percent conviction, this is against what Bob LaMonte wanted him to do.”

LaMonte didn’t return a message seeking comment. LaMonte represents several coaches and executives around the NFL, including Ballard.

McDaniels is one of Belichick’s most-tenured assistants, having served under him a combined of 15 years (nine as offensive coordinator) over two different stints, beginning in 2001. It’s a run that allowed him to be a part of all five of New England’s Super Bowl wins.

The only break in his Patriots’ timeline came from 2009 to 2011, when he served as the Denver Broncos coach for two seasons, followed by a stop in St. Louis as the Rams offensive coordinator in 2011. He returned to New England in 2012.

8 Lions set for Combine

UNIVERSITY PARK — Eight Penn State football players — DB Marcus Allen, DB Troy Apke, RB Saquon Barkley, LB Jason Cabinda, DB Christian Campbell, TE Mike Gesicki, DB Grant Haley, WR DaeSean Hamilton — will participate in the 2018 NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

The eight Nittany Lions are the seventh-most in FBS and are second among Big Ten schools.

The NFL Scouting Combine is set for Feb. 27-March 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The NFL Network and NFL.com will have coverage of the Scouting Combine.

The NFL Draft is set for April 26-28 in Arlington, Texas.

Good time for Eagles jerseys

Fly, Dick’s Sporting Goods, fly.

The shocking defeat of the New England Patriots by the Philadelphia Eagles could be a windfall for the sporting goods retailer (despite a headquarters squarely placed in Steeler Nation across the state), as closets in eastern Pennsylvania take on an even more greenish hue.

The same sales bump took place after the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in more than a century.

Analysts with J.P. Morgan wrote Wednesday, “From a similarities perspective, both the Cubs and Eagles have rabid fans that have been starved for a championship for decades.”

Shares of Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. are up more than 4 percent to $31.95 in afternoon trading, the second largest gain of the year.

Lions round out staff

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions have hired Paul Pasqualoni to be new head coach Matt Patricia’s defensive coordinator.

The team announced the move Wednesday along with other additions to its coaching staff hours on the day Patricia was introduced as the new head coach.

Jim Bob Cooter was not mentioned in the morning release, but he is listed on the team’s website as its returning offensive coordinator.

Pasqualoni’s staff will include defensive backs coach Brian Stewart and Al Golden, who was one of Jim Caldwell’s assistants the previous two seasons.

Philly fan charged in attack

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia police have charged a city man with assaulting an Associated Press photographer during street celebrations after the Eagles won the Super Bowl this past weekend.

The arrest was one of eight announced Wednesday stemming from violence and vandalism late Sunday and early Monday.

Police say the AP photographer was struck in the face with his own camera and punched multiple times in the head, suffering cuts, bruises and other injuries. They say the AP photographer was attacked after telling the man he was too busy taking photos to talk with him.

The man was charged with aggravated assault and other counts.

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