Colts' hire of Jeff Saturday sparks ESPN-NFL Network analyst feud

By , Audacy Sports

The Colts' out-of-left field hiring of team great turned ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday as interim head coach has roiled the football world.

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Saturday was a six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro with the Peyton Manning-era Colts, but he has no coaching experience beyond the high school level -- prompting accusations of favoritism and white privilege in the wake of his unlikely hiring after the dismissal of former head coach Frank Reich.

Among the many critics of the hire was Kyle Brandt of NFL Network -- which, generally speaking, is not exactly a hotbed for hard-hitting critiques of the league.

Brandt called the hire "embarrassing," and wondered whether ESPN talent could objectively evaluate Saturday's performance given his longtime employment by the network.

“This story is embarrassing,” Brandt said on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Tuesday. “I’ve gotten to meet Jeff Saturday a few times, and he was great, and I really respect him as a player and a media member. Isn’t he embarrassed to take this job? At best, uncomfortable?

“Isn’t this awkward for him? Did he consider saying no, just out of respect? Because I think it is a huge backhand to every man and woman in the world in any coaching profession, in any coaching position in college, in the pros, in high school. The coaching profession is something that drains you psychologically ... and he got it because he’s friends with a billionaire.

“What do you say here? Because he’s a high school coach and he was on ESPN and screaming on Get Up? It’s an interesting media thing, too,” Brandt said. “Because this is an ESPN employee, and I’d be fascinated to hear if anybody on ESPN has something critical to say about Jeff Saturday in this case. Or is it just ‘Oh, we’re happy for Jeff?’ If I’m the Colts, I’m embarrassed yesterday.”

Brandt's harsh evaluation apparently caught the attention of ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark, who on Tuesday night said Brandt should worry about his own side of the street.

"Say @KyleBrandt stick to talking about the people that cover football at your network," Clark said. "We are good over here. Be well."

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Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today