<
>

Jim Irsay has created an awkward situation with Chuck Pagano

play
Irsay pursued Gruden to be Colts head coach (1:12)

Adam Schefter details Colts owner Jim Irsay's interest in Jon Gruden to be Indianapolis' head coach. (1:12)

INDIANAPOLIS -- Now it's understandable why Chuck Pagano took what seemed like 200 sips out of his water bottle during his press conference the day after the Indianapolis Colts' season ended.

Pagano said he was confident that he would return for the 2017 season as head coach, but his body language screamed something different. Perhaps Pagano wasn't really sure he'd be back, and it likely wasn't because he had yet to meet with owner Jim Irsay.

Now it's understandable why Pagano felt that way. And it's also understandable why Irsay has been completely silent since the season ended Jan. 1.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Saturday that Irsay pursued Jon Gruden, who is currently ESPN's Monday Night Football analyst, to coach the Colts. Gruden told Schefter that he has no interest in returning to coaching.

You can't fault Irsay for trying to upgrade the coaching position. The Colts are coming off back-to-back seasons of missing the playoffs with an 8-8 record. That eats at Irsay. It was just four months ago that Irsay was on the stage in London saying that the Colts planned to win multiple Super Bowls with Andrew Luck. The Colts aren't on that path. In fact, this is the most irrelevant they've been since they finished 2-14 in 2011.

The issue with what Irsay did is he swung and missed on Gruden. Now he has to stick with Pagano as coach unless he has another option he plans to turn to.

Sticking with Pagano makes for a very awkward situation between the coach and owner because Irsay's actions suggest that he doesn't believe Pagano is the right man to lead his franchise going forward.

Irsay has possibly created a dysfunctional situation in his organization with how he's handled things.

How can he look Pagano in the face on a regular basis when it was a year ago that he gave his coach a four-year contract extension and talked about having continuity. Now he wants a new coach.

Irsay has created a mess that he may not be able to clean up.