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Who Is the Secret Colts Coaching Candidate?

NFL: Indianapolis Colts-Minicamp Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts coaching schedule has been relatively quiet since Matt Nagy’s announced interview on Sunday, January 7th. But just because nothing has been said publicly does not mean nothing is happening.

According to NFL Insider Michael Lombardi on the GM Street podcast, the Colts interviewed a candidate Monday afternoon. The podcast was recorded on Tuesday afternoon and Lombardi said this around the 36:10 mark:

“I know this for a fact, Indianapolis, yesterday, was interviewing another coach. I don’t... I don’t know who it was. Maybe I do. Maybe I don’t. But they were interviewing another coach. Ok? And so they weren’t on the Nagy train.”

While the Nagy tidbit pretty much shuts down those who believe the Colts were “all in” on Nagy, the more interesting nugget is this mysterious interview Lombardi seemed to let slip. An interview he was emphatic happened Monday since he knew it for a fact.

Up to this point, the Colts have been fairly transparent on who they’ve scheduled interviews with.

January 4th: Josh McDaniels
January 5th: Kris Richard
January 6th: Mike Vrabel
January 7th: Matt Nagy
January 11th: Steve Wilks

However, that’s where the known interview list ends. There’s no publicly available information as to the Colts having an interview with a candidate other than Wilks. Given Monday was January 8th, that begs the question, who was this mystery coaching candidate and why did the Colts keep this interview secret?

Given most NFL teams submit a request to interview a candidate on another staff, and those requests almost always leak out, it could be this interview was with someone unaffiliated with an NFL team, like maybe a college coach?

If the Colts are interviewing college coaches in private, it opens up a whole new realm of speculation. If college coaches are being considered, the one option I would say it shouldn’t be is Nick Saban since his team was playing in the National Championship game that night.

If the Colts are interviewing college coaches, keeping the interview entirely secret also makes sense because, if news of an interview with an NFL team got out, it would hurt recruiting regardless of whether they take the Colts job or not. Other coaches would surely use it against that coach in the future saying you never know how long they’ll stick around.

Anyone care to guess who this mystery candidate might be?

The low hanging fruit picks are Stanford’s David Shaw and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh since they already have a relationship with Andrew Luck. Other less obvious candidates might be Washington’s Chris Peterson or Clemson’s Dabo Swinney.

I’ll preface this by saying this is complete speculation, conspiracy level stuff here with no source or factual basis but hear me out. I think it might have been Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh and Lombardi are known to have a close relationship. In fact, some believed Lombardi was likely to join Harbaugh with the San Francisco 49ers before they stayed with Trent Baalke as their GM. It’s peculiar that in the Lombardi piece on the GM Street podcast, it appeared he didn’t intend to let that bit of information about knowing for a fact the Colts had an interview Monday slip. Given this Colts coaching interview wasn’t made public, Lombardi likely had to of heard it from a source close to someone in the interview.

Alright, tin foil hat is off now. This all might be a ruse. Lombardi may be overstating. It all could be true. This is just pure speculation at this point but it’s interesting to consider none the less.