Reporters confronted Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels over rumors that he secretly attended the NFL Combine. McDaniels has largely avoided media interaction since his tearful press conference explaining why he had accepted the Indianapolis Colts Head Coach job only to turn it down hours later. Indianapolis also hosts the NFL’s annual Scouting Combine for college football players. Due to the recent falling out, team reports that McDaniels would not attend the Combine were not surprising. News from the event, however, suggested something more.
McDaniels has been absent from New England for the past few days, and several pictures from the Combine capture a mustachioed figure evaluating athletes from the shadows. The man in the images matches McDaniel’s build and, despite apparent precautions to obscure his jacket’s logo with a name tag, is wearing a New England Patriots hat. McDaniels himself provided the final proof when he answered to a reporter addressing him as “Jack Daniels,” the evaluator’s nom de guerre.
Before reporters could ask followup questions, McDaniels launched into a tirade. “Yeah, I was there, and it was awful. It was like hiding behind enemy lines. I was absolutely terrified,” McDaniels revealed. He started shouting. “But I have to somehow draft a developmental quarterback who can fill the backup spot Garoppolo left, and now he’s the highest paid NFL player—of COURSE I needed to go to the combine. Do you think that’s an easy comparison? You have no idea what I have riding on this. You think I wanted this jo-” he stopped abruptly as Coach Belichick appeared in the doorway. Regaining his composure, McDaniels fell back to his new offseason refrain. “I had to do it for my family. I mean the team; the team is like my family. And they need help.” Belichick smiled at reporters. “Yes, Josh always does what is best for his family,” he commented as McDaniels left the room.