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Josh McDaniels changes mind, will remain with Patriots

Under Josh McDaniels, the Patriots have had league’s top-ranked offense in 2007, 2012, and 2017.
Under Josh McDaniels, the Patriots have had league’s top-ranked offense in 2007, 2012, and 2017.Jim Davis/Globe staff

Josh McDaniels has called a reverse.

In a sudden and stunning change of heart, a source confirmed McDaniels decided Tuesday night not to accept the Colts’ head coaching job just hours after the club announced his introductory press conference would be Wednesday.

McDaniels, who refused to address his future in the immediate aftermath of New England’s 41-33 loss to the Eagles in the Super Bowl Sunday night, will remain the Patriots offense coordinator.

The Colts released a statement later Tuesday saying they were “surprised and disappointed” by the decision after agreeing to contract terms but that they would start a new “search immediately.’’

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Other than Matt Patricia heading to Detroit to take the head coaching spot, no other coach staff additions or subtractions are anticipated and no interviews have been conducted or scheduled.

McDaniels to Indianapolis had been considered the worst-kept secret of the last five weeks and appeared the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed on the deal when the Colts sent out a breaking news tweet Tuesday morning announcing the hiring.

Additionally, McDaniels was to be bringing Jerry Schuplinski, who served as the Patriots assistant quarterbacks coach the last two seasons, to Indianapolis.

Schuplinski, who was lauded by Bill Belichick for his work with Jacoby Brissett last season, was considered a candidate to replace McDaniels in New England when it originally appeared McDaniels was leaving. Schuplinski and McDaniels were college teammates at John Carroll University.

McDaniels had an initial interview with the Colts during the bye week before their divisional round win over the Titans and had a second meeting with the team during the Super Bowl bye week. He replaced Chuck Pagano, who was fired after six seasons at the helm.

It would have been the second head coaching job for McDaniels, 41, who compiled an 11-17 mark with the Broncos before being fired midway through the 2010 season. After a one-year stop as offensive coordinator in St. Louis, McDaniels returned to New England for another turn as OC in 2012. The Patriots have been wildly successful during his second stint, winning six straight AFC East titles, advancing to six straight AFC title games and reaching three Super Bowls with a pair of wins.

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Under McDaniels’s stewardship, New England consistently has had one of the league’s most lethal attacks, and had the league’s top-ranked offense in 2007, 2012, and 2017.

Last season under McDaniels guidance, the Patriots won games with three different quarterbacks — Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Brissett.

McDaniels would have had a huge challenge in overhauling the Colts, who have missed the playoffs three straight seasons and whose franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck, missed the 2017 season after having right shoulder surgery. Luck has been injured frequently, missing 26 games over the last three years.

There are pros to the Colts job, too. The team owns the No. 3 pick in April’s draft — it finished 4-12 with Brissett at quarterback — and has a ton of cap space, with approximately $85 million to spend.

With McDaniels changing his mind, the Patriots avoid losing coordinators on back-to-back days, the situation they faced after the 2004 season. After beating the Eagles in the Super Bowl, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left for Notre Dame and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel went to Cleveland.

Chad O’Shea, who has been the team’s receivers coach since 2009, was considered the top candidate to replace McDaniels before the reversal. O’Shea has called plays during preseason games and coordinates the team’s red zone offense.

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As for Patricia’s replacement, the top candidate for promotion is Brian Flores, who has been in the organization since 2008 and has been linebackers coach the last two seasons. Similar to O’Shea, Flores has taken on play-calling duties during exhibition games.

Linebackers coach Brian Flores is the top candidate to replace Matt Patricia (in red) as defensive coordinator.
Linebackers coach Brian Flores is the top candidate to replace Matt Patricia (in red) as defensive coordinator.Jim davis/Globe Staff

It’s possible Flores could take over play calling duties without officially being named defensive coordinator. The Patriots did this for a year with McDaniels after Weis left before naming him OC.

“He has a great overall knowledge of the game, and for a guy to be as young as he is, he knows a lot of football, understands how everything operates and communicates it well,’’ veteran linebacker David Harris told the Globe last week. “He’s one of the up-and-coming coaches in this league.’’


Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride