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NFL Owner Admits He 'Reluctantly' Gave Contract Extension

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay  on the field in 2019.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - AUGUST 17: Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay on the field before the preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay addressed his unexpected decision to fire head coach Frank Reich earlier this season.

The Colts dismissed Reich months after extending him through 2026. Irsay further confounded onlookers by appointing ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday as the interim head coach.

During an interview with ESPN's Michelle Beisner-Buck that aired Monday night, Irsay made an odd comment while discussing Reich's dismissal.

"I reluctantly gave Frank an extension sooner than I wanted to," Irsay said. "When you see it really, really coming apart, then you realize that you have to make that change."

As the owner, Irsay answers to nobody who could force his hand. He didn't elaborate on why he extended Reich or why he was hesitant last summer.

Since he went through with the new deal, the Colts are on the hook for Reich's $9 million annual salary in each of the following four seasons. 

While Irsay called Saturday an "outstanding candidate," he said he'll keep an open mind when searching for a head coach this offseason. He also committed to Chris Ballard as his general manager and said the team's quarterback situation is "very much up in the air."

The Colts have lost five straight games since winning Saturday's coaching debut. They'll close the season against the New York Giants and Houston Texans.