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Colts fan starts petition to stop Jeff Saturday’s coaching path

Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday on the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Las Vegas on Nov. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/David Becker)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jeff Saturday was a fan favorite when he played for the Indianapolis Colts.

Maybe not so much these days.

After going 1-7 as the interim coach and being brought in for a second interview to keep the job next fall, one Colts fan started an online petition to stop Saturday’s candidacy. It had received nearly 3,000 signatures by Thursday night.

“We as Colts fans will always love the memories of the SB XLI team; we love the former players and the people they’ve become, but we don’t want Jeff Saturday as the head coach of this team going forward,” the petition read. “Please hire someone with experience and save your fan base from revolting and losing interest.”

Saturday left his job as an ESPN studio analyst in early November to replace the fired Frank Reich. Team owner Jim Irsay brought back Saturday, Peyton Manning’s longtime center and a member of the Colts Ring of Honor, even though Saturday had no coaching experience at the college or pro level.

The result: After winning his first game, Saturday lost the last seven in a historically poor showing for an interim coach. The Colts finished 4-12-1 and earned the No. 4 overall draft pick.

But Saturday faces an abundance of challengers.

General manager Chris Ballard interviewed more than a dozen candidates through the first round of interviews and Saturday got his second one Wednesday.

Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero was scheduled to interview Thursday. Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, is scheduled to go Friday.

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was scheduled for Saturday, but NFL Network reported Thursday that Quinn has informed the four remaining teams looking for new head coaches that he would be staying in Dallas.

Reich’s absence from the sideline ended Thursday when he took the Carolina Panthers’ job.

Indy is expected to have a second round of interviews with several more candidates before making a hire.