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Josh McDaniels stunned Indianapolis and the football world Tuesday, reneging on an agreement to coach the Colts in favor of staying on as Patriots offensive coordinator. "Unreal," one Indy front office member told ESPN, which broke the story. "I'm at a loss."? Many hours later, I'm still stuck on why. What could have happened over the past 24 hours—over the past month—to convince McDaniels that sacrificing his football reputation was worth sticking around in New England?
ESPN reported that Patriots owner Robert Kraft offered this week to beef up McDaniels's contract, but surely he won't be getting more than he would have as the Colts' head coach. Even if Kraft promised McDaniels the top job after Bill Belichick retires, what would have prevented McDaniels from leaving Indy for that position whenever it became available rather than agreeing to wait in a lieutenant role? Peter King is reporting that Belichick and Kraft convinced McDaniels to stay during a lengthy conversation Tuesday, but I'm having a hard time imagining what they could possibly have said.
There are reports that McDaniels did not want to move his family to Indiana, though King has been told that wasn't a deciding factor. As for questions around Andrew Luck's health, I'd be shocked if his condition changed dramatically over the last couple days. Overnight, King, Albert Breer and Conor Orr helped fill in some of the gaps, like where the Colts go from here. Still one big question remains, and I'm not sure we'll ever get a satisfactory explanation. Ultimately, McDaniels may have simply found himself unwilling to accept the myriad risks that come with the unknown. But staying put is a perilous choice too.
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NOW ON THE MMQB: Andrew Brandt presents 10 storylines to watch ... Robert Klemko argues that Doug Pederson is obviously the Coach of the Year ... Greg Bishop and Ben Baskin file the post-Super Bowl magazine story every fan must read ... and more.
LATER TODAY: Albert Breer reports on the Malcolm Butler situation ... Peter King addresses the possibility of Nick Foles being traded ... Andy Benoit finds secrets buried in the Super Bowl tape ... and more. Stay tuned.
1. What was the deal with Malcolm Butler? More than two days have passed since the Patriots corner was kept off the field Sunday, and we still don't really know why. Tuesday, he posted a three-paragraph statement on Instagram thanking the organization, denying rumors that he "participated in any of the ridiculous activities being reported," and apologizing for using foul language after the game. Butler is one of several topics I expect Matt Patricia to be asked about today as he is introduced as Lions head coach. Then again, maybe we should just give up on ever trying to understand anything Patriots-related.
2. More Super Bowl talk!
- An oral history of 'Philly Special'
- Carson Wentz is now engaged
- Ratings fell for a third straight year
3. More Super Bowl (commercials) talk! Neil Best digs into the Eli Manning—Odell Beckham Jr. commercial that stole our hearts. And yes, Manning actually held the receiver over his head for the cameras, though, "There was some help to take a little bit of the weight off," creative director Cam Miller said.
4. Ryan Shazier has clarified reports that he's walking, verifying a tweet that stated he has movement in his legs but walks with the assistance of a walker. Tuesday night, he stood up at a Penguins game.
5. Titans wideout Rishard Matthews went from criticizing Colin Kaepernick to being the lone Tennessee player to stay in the locker room during the national anthem. Jason Wolf chronicled that transition. In other political news, President Donald Trump tweeted, "So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson," and Indianapolis columnist Gregg Doyel told the President, "Keep Edwin Jackson’s name out of your mouth." Lastly, at least three Eagles won't be going to the White House.
6. "New Browns personnel consultant Scot McCloughan is already on record as saying that Baker Mayfield would be his man if he had to draft a quarterback this year to lead his franchise," Mary Kay Cabot writes. So what does that mean for Cleveland's draft plans?
7. 61-year-old coach Brad Childress is returning from (a very brief) retirement to help "partner in crime" Matt Nagy.
8. Jon Gruden has made his first roster move, cutting Raiders corner David Amerson. Meanwhile, the Ravens have won the Devier Posey sweepstakes. Posey, a wide receiver, previously played in Houston before heading to the CFL, where he was the MVP of November's Grey Cup.
9. Le'Veon Bell told Stephen A. Smith, when asked about former offensive coordinator Todd Haley, "It would be a big situation and Todd would call a play that Ben don’t necessarily like?." New OC Randy Fichtner, on the other hand, will "give Ben what he wants?."
10. Shane Matthews, an NFL QB for 14 years, is heading to prison as part of a healthcare fraud conspiracy.
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