Matt Eberflus said he “was a little bit taken aback” by the Colts’ decision to fire head coach Frank Reich on Monday.
“Frank’s a very good friend of mine,” the Bears head coach said Wednesday. “I really enjoyed by time with him. He certainly helped me professionally as a man, as a coach. And I can’t say enough good things about Frank Reich. I love him to death and he’s a great, dear friend of mine.”
The Colts shocked the league when owner Jim Irsay decided to replace Reich — whom he’d recently given a vote of confidence — with former Colts center Jeff Saturday, who had been serving as an ESPN analyst. Saturday, who is technically the interim, is the first person since before the merger to be hired as an NFL head coach without experience in college or to the pros.
Asked whether that was good for the sport, Eberflus bit his tongue, saying he didn’t want to say.
Eberflus — who was Reich’s defensive coordinator for four seasons before taking the Bears head coaching job in January –said he was sympathetic with the assistants that remained in Indianapolis. The uncertainty of an interim situation is hard on assistants and their families.
“Hopefully they’ll have some wisdom and stay strong,” he said.