Ballard: 'The rivalry is back on'

Colts general manager Chris Ballard addressed the media Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, one day after Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels backed out of their agreement to become the Colts' new head coach. (WTHR Photo/Ben Reiff)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Chris Ballard wants the Patriots to know, "The rivalry is back on."

Ballard faced the media Wednesday morning for the first time since New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels backed out of his verbal agreement to become the Colts' new head coach. He said they'd come to contract terms with McDaniels, which is why the Colts put out the official announcement that McDaniels was coming to Indy.

A few hours later, McDaniels called back saying, "I've got bad news for you." Ballard said at that point, he didn't try to convince McDaniels to change his mind and still come to Indianapolis or even ask why he'd changed his mind.

"We have work to do, and I want someone who's 100 percent committed to partnering with us in getting that work done," Ballard explained.

"Overcoming the hard times - that's what makes football great....It doesn't always work out or go the way we mapped it our or planned it, but it's the mentally tough gritty people who overcome these things that are successful. That's what we're going to be built on. That's what this city is built on. That's what this organization is built on."

He declined to give a timeline for when a new coaching candidate could be named but said he's always evaluating people whenever he's around coaches - even when there aren't any openings on his staff - because "as a GM, you always have a list of guys."

"We're going to take our time, we're going to get good assistant coaches and we're going to win."

As for the assistant coaches and defensive coordinator who are already here after McDaniels recruited them to join his staff, Ballard said, "We will not abandon them."

Questions eventually turned to Andrew Luck, and Ballard quelled rumors that Luck isn't coming back next year saying none of Luck's doctors have expressed that Luck would need another surgery.

"His strength is good and he's working on his arm speed. He's not picked up a football, but he's working on arm speed. He's not going to skip a step. He's going to do everything right to get himself ready to play."

Ballard started his press conference talking about Edwin Jackson's death, calling it a reminder everyone should "keep in perspective what's important in life, and that's human life....Tomorrow's not promised to any of us."

Sunday was a hard day," Ballard said of Jackson's death. "I didn't watch the Super Bowl. My mind was around Edwin Jackson and his family."