McDaniels explains why he bailed on Colts to stick with Patriots

Josh McDaniels took a lot of heat last month when he spurned the Colts to return to the Patriots a day before Indy was set to announce him as its next head coach.

This week, McDaniels, the New England offensive coordinator, finally explained what occurred over those crazy two days in early February in an interview with the Boston Globe. And his decision apparently came down to Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft explaining their plans for the future.

McDaniels agreed to terms on a contract with the Colts, then returned to Foxborough two days after the Pats’ Super Bowl LII loss to the Eagles to pack up the rest of his stuff. That was Tuesday, Feb. 6. Early in the day, the Colts' official Twitter account announced McDaniels as their next head coach. But by 7:30 p.m., McDaniel had backed out of his agreement. The Wednesday press conference was canceled as Indy was forced to release a statement.

During what would have been his final visit to the Patriots’ facility, McDaniels changed his mind after discussions with Kraft and Belichick.

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Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels together
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Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels together
EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - FEBRUARY 02: Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks during the New England Patriots practice on February 2, 2018 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The New England Patriots will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on February 4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 8: New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick chats with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as the team does stretching exercises during training camp at the Gillette Stadium practice field in Foxborough, Mass., Aug. 8, 2017. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels before the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 25, 2017: Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (L) and head coach Bill Belichick (R) of the New England Patriots walk off the field for halftime of a preseason game on August 25, 2017 against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. New England won 30-28. (Photo by: 2017 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 29: New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, left, and Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, right, talk during training camp at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Aug. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 12: Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady #12 of the New England look on during a time out in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on December 12, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
02 October 2016: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and New England Patriots offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels chat during warm up. The Buffalo Bills defeated the New England Patriots 16-0 in a regular season NFL game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11: Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (L) and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talk on the field before the team's NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. New England won 23-21. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 8: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots confers with Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick in the second half during a game with the Washington Redskins at Gillette Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
November 16, 2014: Indianapolis Colts head coach Bill Belichick and Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels talk on the sidelines during a football game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots gets a Gatorade shower as he celebrates with eefensive coordinator Matt Patricia and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels near the end of the game against the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 10: Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels talk as the New England Patriots practice at the practice field at Gillette Stadium for Saturday's home playoff game against Denver. (Photo by Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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“I wasn’t 100 percent sure what the future was. I just hadn’t had any clarity on that," McDaniels told the Globe on Monday. “So, where did I fit in? Were there any plans? I just didn’t have much clarity on what my role was here moving forward."

“Once I heard from Robert and Bill on that Tuesday, it just gave me reason to pause and consider this whole situation," McDaniels said.

According to the Globe, McDaniels was not guaranteed any future positions, like, say, head coach after Belichick retires. But he did have his contract altered. McDaniels entered the offseason with one year remaining on his deal.

“The opportunity to stay here and work for who I think is the greatest owner in sports and the best head football coach in the history of our game, to work with the best quarterback that has ever played ... Look, I’m privileged to have the opportunity to do that and when they kind of crystallized that — ‘Hey, here’s what we see going forward and here’s how we would like you to fit into it’ — it gave me a reason to stop and say, ‘All right, what’s the best decision for me?’ McDaniels said. “And certainly it was difficult. But I made the decision on my own, nobody pushed me into it.”

McDaniels was criticized vehemently by fans and media because he had already signed assistant coaches to contracts in Indianapolis before he backed out. Those coaches had left their previous jobs — potentially angering people on the way out — but now were stuck in a situation they had most certainly not expected.

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Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels together
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Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels together
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 29: After Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threws his second touchdown pass of the game to break Peyton Manning's single season record, he gets a pat on the head from offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels, left, greets Boston Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady before the Broncos' played the Patriots at Invesco Field at Mile High Sunday October 11, 2009 HYOUNG CHANG/THE DENVER POST (Photo By Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 9: New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels gives New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (#12) a pat on the cap as the team took to the field for pre game warmups before a preseason exhibition game against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of of the New England Patriots sits on the bench with Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 9: New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (#12) share an embrace as the team took to the field for pre game warmups before a preseason exhibition game against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 8: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, right, share a moment during pre-game warmups. The New England Patriots hosted the Cleveland Browns in an NFL regular season game at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
12 October 2014: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during a NFL game between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY. (Photo by Kellen MIcah/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 02: Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots speaks with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during the second quarter of action at Gillette Stadium. The Denver Broncos visit the New England Patriots in a week 9 AFC showdown. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
November 16, 2014: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during a football game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 7: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady talking to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels before they play the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 7, 2014. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots high fives Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels after throwing a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter of the 2015 AFC Divisional Playoffs game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: Josh McDaniels, offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots congratulates Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots after his 400th career touchdown pass during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 16: New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and quarterback Tom Brady have an animated conversation while officials are reviewing his goal line run against the Kansas City Chiefs during second quarter action. The New England Patriots hosted the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 24: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on the sidelines after New England failed to convert on the two point conversion that would have tied the game. The Denver Broncos hosted the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 9: After he was removed from the game in the fourth quarter, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (right) sports a big smile as he says something to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (left). The New England Patriots visited the Cleveland Browns in a regular season NFL football game at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on Oct. 9, 2016. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts with head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during the fourth quarter of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels prior to the National Football League game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets on November 27, 2016, at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 12: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) is pictured with offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels during Patriots practice at the Gillette Stadium practice field in Foxborough, MA on Jan. 12, 2017. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels prior to the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JULY 28: New England Patriots Tom Brady takes off his helmet as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels talks to him during the second day of training camp at the Gillette Stadium practice field in Foxborough, Mass., July 28, 2017. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JUNE 6: New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, left, and quarterback #12 Tom Brady are pictured during the team's Minicamp practice at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Jun. 6, 2017. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots hugs Josh McDaniels before a preseason game with Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on August 10, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots high fives offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in the second quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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McDaniels says he apologized to both Colts GM Chris Ballard and the assistant coaches he screwed over, commending their professionalism.

“Chris was tremendous the whole entire time," McDaniels said. “He’s an incredible human being. He’s great at what he does. He’s going to be successful. It was difficult. I had a friendship with him — I still do. ... He’s a guy that I have a lot of respect for and admiration for. He was a big reason why I was interested in that job in the first place. It was as difficult a decision as I’ve ever made professionally. He handled it extremely well, he was a complete professional about it."

“I spoke to all of (the assistant coaches) that night right away, shortly after I talked to Chris," McDaniels added. “They were professionals. Like I said, it wasn’t easy for anybody. I apologized to them if it put them in an awkward position. They’re all there (in Indianapolis), which I’m very happy about. They have great opportunities, they’re great coaches, they’re great people, and I’m happy that it worked out for them in that regard.

“Again, it was never my intention to go into this and put anybody in an awkward position or do any harm to anybody or do anything to hurt anybody’s career. That certainly wasn’t a part of my thought process. I just felt like, once I knew the whole picture and I had the opportunity to make a decision, it was tough but I feel like I made the right one."

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