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Jim Irsay on coaching job: Jeff Saturday is a candidate, but there are “a lot of great” ones

Mike Florio and Chris Simms dive into Week 15’s best showdowns, from Josh McDaniels taking on his former team and mentor to Tua Tagovailoa battling against the elements in Buffalo and more.

In 24 days, the Colts will officially commence their search for a new head coach. Interim coach Jeff Saturday wants the job.

Colts owner Jim Irsay, who already may have decided to hire Saturday but who has no reason whatsoever to say that until completing a Rooney Rule-compliant search, addressed the situation with reporters on Wednesday.

“I’m looking forward to the interview process,” Irsay said. “I think Jeff’s a candidate but there’s a lot of great candidates out there. I think there’s a lot of great candidates in college. I think the pool needs to be broadened somewhat more. There’s some great college coaches that may be capable. There’s some unknown coaches that may be capable.”

It’s odd that Irsay would consider college candidates, other than Michigan coach (and former Colts quarterback) Jim Harbaugh. (Harbaugh has said he’s not returning to the NFL; Nick Saban also said he won’t be the Alabama coach.) College coaches without extensive NFL coaching experience simply don’t do well in the NFL.

Still, Irsay has shown that he’s willing to embrace the unconventional. From inexperienced to unknown, he seems to be willing to cast a wide net -- and to keep something other than the most obvious fish.

Regardless, the favorite seems to be Saturday. We’ll see if that changes when Irsay assesses the full scope of Saturday’s performance and begins talking to candidates.