Colts’ Jim Irsay to critics — Frank Reich firing ‘not personal’

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay pushed back on recent characterizations of his handling of the team’s coaching change and firing of coach Frank Reich, telling ESPN, “It’s not personal. It’s the very opposite from being personal.”

Irsay’s comments were prompted in part by statements made by Philadelphia Eagles coach Nick Sirianni, a former Colts assistant and Reich mentee, who offered passionate postgame comments after Sunday’s win over the Colts in Indianapolis and was captured on video after the 17-16 victory yelling into the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd, “That s— was for Frank Reich.”

In his postgame news conference, Sirianni added, “You don’t want to know what I think of if he should be here or not, but you guys can probably imagine what I really think.”

Irsay, who also has been bothered by some portrayals of his decision to hire Jeff Saturday as an interim coach, offered a strong defense of his decisions surrounding the coaching change.

“Frank is a treasured friend of my family and all my daughters,” Irsay said. “We go back a long, long way. I’m very, very close to Frank, and I’ve known Frank for many decades. He’s like family.”

Irsay said he demonstrated his commitment and belief in Reich by executing a contract extension with him earlier this year despite two seasons remaining on Reich’s original deal. Irsay said he was reluctant to extend Reich when Reich broached the idea because of the remaining term on the previous contract and because Irsay had concerns about the team’s offensive consistency after the disappointing end to the 2021 season. But, Irsay said, he went against his past stance and made the decision to move forward with a new deal that locked Reich up for five additional seasons.

Told that the team had announced extensions for Reich and general manager Chris Ballard in August 2021, Irsay said this was a more recent agreement between the team and Reich.

“I’ve been doing this for over 50 years, and I’ve…

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