Colts' Frank Reich: 'Backup role has suited me well'


A decade-plus after starting his coaching career as a Colts intern, Frank Reich is back in Indianapolis under a brand new title: head coach.

The Colts on Tuesday introduced Reich to the media, an episode of fanfare coming less than a week after the team was publicly jilted by Josh McDaniels.

"Do you hate or love Josh McDaniels for what happened?" former Colts punter Pat McAfee, lodged in the crowd, asked Reich.

Reich paused before playfully retorting: "The backup role has suited me well in my career."

Chalk it up as the perfect response from a guy who understands he wasn't Indy's top choice -- but might know better than anyone how to thrive as No. 2.

After all, Reich remains embedded in NFL lore for his productive and often magical role as Jim Kelly's understudy with the Bills, an endearing run capped by his 35-point comeback in a raucous wild-card win over the Oilers in January of 1993.

Reich brings a proven history of working with quarterbacks from Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers to Carson Wentz and Nick Foles. Now tasked with coaching Andrew Luck, the Colts new coach was asked how he planned to make his quarterback "magical" again in 2018.

"The key to making Andrew Luck magical is -- this is a team game," Reich said of the club's star passer who missed all of last season on the mend from shoulder surgery. "As great as he is -- and I believe he's the best, I believe he's the best -- this game ... the reason we all love this game... I just came off of a team that we lost our franchise quarterback and still won a Super Bowl.

"So, I know Andrew embraces it," Reich said. "This game is not built on any one player. He is magical. He has special, unique traits and abilities that I respect as much as anybody. And I can't wait to work with him, but if we're going to win championships -- and that's the plan -- it's going to be about surrounding our whole team and the way we're going to bring out the best in each other."

It sounds like coach-speak, but Reich can directly point to one of the most improbable Super Bowl runs of our time as evidence of his philosophy.

The Eagles are champions because of a team-building process that surrounded their star passer, Carson Wentz, with talented veterans who meshed as one when it mattered most.

Now it's time for the Colts to follow suit.