Are Colts Eyeing Jon Gruden? How Jim Irsay’s Plane Fueled Speculation

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Chuck Pagano still is the Indianapolis Colts’ head coach, and reports last week stated the organization is planning to bring him back for the 2017 season. But you know how the internet works.

The Houston Texans hosted the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, and it just so happens that Jim Irsay’s plane reportedly was in the same city as the wild-card game. This might not mean much, if anything at all, but fans immediately started speculating about whether the Colts owner was in town for business.

What could that business be? Well, much of the chatter centered on Indianapolis’ head coaching position and whether Irsay was in Houston to talk with former NFL head coach Jon Gruden, who was serving as an analyst for the Texans-Raiders showdown.

Gruden hasn’t coached since the 2008 season, but his name inevitably pops up every offseason. And although Indianapolis doesn’t currently have a head coaching vacancy, there certainly are some Colts fans who wouldn’t mind a changing of the guard after watching their team go 8-8 and miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

There’s also a chance — again, this is just speculation — Irsay was in town to woo Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who tweeted last week that he was back in Houston. Phillips’ contract is expiring, and although the Oakland Raiders are among the potential landing spots being tossed around, there’s no denying the Colts’ shaky defense would benefit from bringing in the established coach.

In any event, we should know soon enough whether any fire will come of this smoke. For now, we’ll just sit around and speculate, just like the internet did over the weekend based on flight patterns.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle.

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