The Indianapolis Colts' decision to hire former center Jeff Saturday as interim head coach has inspired a lot of surprise and outrage across the NFL this week.
But no one has ripped Colts owner Jim Irsay as strongly or as eloquently as former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas.
Appearing on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Friday, Thomas didn't pull any punches when asked about the hire of Saturday, who has never coached in college football or the NFL and who most recently worked as an analyst at ESPN.
Thomas called the hire "disrespectful" and "egregious."
“To hire a drinking buddy to be the head coach of an NFL football team, it is one of the most disrespectful things I’ve ever seen in my entire life, to the commitment, the lifestyle and the experience that it takes to be an NFL coach — any coach, much less the head coach of the Indianapolis Football Colts," Thomas said. "You have got to be kidding me that this is something that Jim Irsay — and Jeff Saturday, who’s not blameless for accepting the job — could have talked and decided that this was the best thing for the Indianapolis Colts at this juncture of the season."
Saturday replaces Frank Reich, who the Colts fired midway through his fifth season on Monday.
To prove his point, Thomas relayed a story about former Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski. Thomas, a 10-time Pro-Bowler in 11 seasons with the Browns, said he lived next door to Chudzinski in 2013, his lone year as the Browns' head coach.
Thomas said Chudzinski saw his family just twice a week during the football season, and once a week if the team was playing a road game. Despite that, Chudzinski was fired after going 4-12.
Thomas doubted Saturday's ability to suddenly devote that much time and energy to the Colts and said his hire is disrespectful to those who have worked that hard and not yet gotten a shot at being a head coach.
"That’s a lifestyle," Thomas said. "That’s who you are. That’s not something that you can just show up for. That’s not something you sign up for. This is something that changes your life when you decide to be a coach."
Thomas ended his epic rant by saying when he first saw the news of Saturday's hire, he thought it was a joke.
Thomas witnessed a lot of dysfunction during his time in Cleveland, but said the hire of Saturday takes the cake.
"It was the most egregious thing I can remember happening in the NFL," he said. "And I went 1-31 my last two years in the NFL."