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Irsay didn’t want midseason change, but results went from bad to worse

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hours after the Indianapolis Colts fired their head coach and hired an interim one, team owner Jim Irsay said Monday night that he didn’t want a midseason change, but the results were going to bad or worse.

The Colts are 3-5-1 after Sunday’s 26-3 loss to the New England Patriots (5-4).

“We’re excited about going forward with our future. First and foremost, a big thank you to Frank Reich.”

Irsay said he told his former coach, Reich, that they, with General Manager Chris Ballard, would one day hoist the Super Bowl’s Lombardi Trophy. “It’s a very difficult and tough day.”

How did Irsay know it was time to change coaches? “It’s an intuitive thing. There’s no rule book that tells you when you should or shouldn’t do this.”

The interim coach, former Colts player Jeff Saturday, has never been a head coach in the NFL. His first game will be in Week 10, at 4:05 p.m. Sunday against the Los Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium.

“Couldn’t be more thrilled about having (Saturday) here,” Irsay said. “Yes, he is experienced enough. Yes, he is capable.”

The team owner says he hopes to attract a top-notch coach, but gave kudos to Saturday for his work as a consultant since leaving the Colts as as player after the 2011 season. Irsay says he glad Saturday doesn’t have any NFL experience but has tons of experience with relationships with coaches and players.

Saturday will be around for “eight games, maybe more.” Irsay says a full interview process will happen to fill the permanent position.

Irsay says the team wants to cultivate winning cultures.

“I don’t know how to make sausage. I don’t know what goes into sausage. But, I do know how to make a football team because I’ve been around for 52 years.”

Saturday told the media gathered at the Colts complex that he knows the team has “fantastic” coaches. The man who played with the Colts from 1999 to 2011 said “‘shocked’ would be an understatement” when the conversation about him being a coach happened. He called it a 12-hour whirlwind.

“Make no mistake, the job is win,” Saturday said.

“When I can do the two things I love — be a leader of men and coach football — I’m not going to say no to that,” Saturday said about the interim coaching job.

Saturday said Sam Ehlinger will start Sunday, and Bernhard Raimann will be at left tackle.

During the news conference, Ballard said the Colts had tried to hire Saturday as the offensive line coach in the past two years.

“For this situation where we’re at, we thought he was going to be a really good fit for us,” Ballard said.

The general manager added that the Colts aren’t throwing in the towel. “I don’t sit here and act like I don’t share some of the blame. Damn right, I do.”

This story was created with tweets from News 8’s Anthony Calhoun, Angela Moryan and Phil Sanchez.