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Colts coach search: 5th candidate interviewed

Eric Bieniemy (clockwise from top left), Ejiro Evero, Ben Johnson, Bubba Ventrone and Raheem Morris. (Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions has joined the growing list of people who been interviewed for the Indianapolis Colts head coach job.

Ben Johnson is the fifth interview, the team announced Friday night. Raheem Morris, defensive coordinator the Los Angeles Rams, was interviewed earlier Friday.

Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy were interviewed Thursday.

Colts’ special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone was interviewed Wednesday.

Friday’s interviews were announced on the same day Jim Irsay, the team owner and chief executive officer, issued a letter to fans saying in part “the bottom line is we failed” in the just-completed 4-12-1 season.

Bieniemy, a New Orleans native who’s 53, joined head coach Andy Reid’s staff in Kansas City in 2013, getting his current job in 2018. The Colts announcement of the interview said, “”Prior to being hired by the Chiefs, Bieniemy was the University of Colorado’s offensive coordinator (2011-2012), the Minnesota Vikings’ running backs coach (2006-2009) and assistant head coach/running backs (2010), UCLA’s running backs coach (2003-2005) and the Colorado’s running backs coach (2001-2002).” The San Diego Chargers chose the former running in the 1991 draft. He played for the Charges, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Evero, a 42-year-old United Kingdom native, spent 2022 as the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator. Evero previously has coaching roles for the Los Angeles Rams, the Green Bay Packers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the San Francisco 49ers. “Evero began his coaching career at his alma mater, UC Davis, as an assistant in 2005,” the Colts announcement said.

Johnson, 36, is a native of Charleston, South Carolina. He has been a part of the Lions coaching staff since 2019. Previously, he worked for the Miami Dolphins for eight years. “Prior to the NFL, Johnson spent three seasons at Boston College as a graduate assistant (2009-2010) and tight ends coach (2011),” the Colts announcement of the interview says.

Morris is a Newark, New Jersey, native who’s 46. He’s been with the Rams for two years, helping the team win last year’s Super Bowl. Before joining the Rams, he worked with the Atlanta Falcons and the Washington team. From 2009-2011, he was head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, never taking the team to post-season play and leaving with a 21-38 record. The Colts announcement of the interview said, “Morris first joined the Buccaneers in 2002, the year Tampa Bay won Super Bowl XXXVII, as a defensive quality control coach. He was also a defensive assistant (2003), assistant defensive backs coach (2004-2005) and defensive backs coach (2007-2008) for the Buccaneers. Morris was Kansas State’s defensive coordinator in 2006.”

A Pittsburgh native, Raymond “Bubba” Ventrone, 40, has been the Colts’ special teams coordinator since 2018. “Ventrone this season guided the Colts through transitions at punter (from Rigoberto Sanchez to Matt Haack) and kicker (from Rodrigo Blankenship to Chase McLaughlin),” said the announcement on Ventrone issued Wednesday. He played for the the Patriots, the Cleveland Browns and the 49ers from 2007-2014.

Jeff Saturday was named interim head coach of the Colts in November after the firing of Frank Reich.