Wink Martindale Speaks Up About Colts HC Job, Interview Process

Wink Martindale

Getty Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale (left) has returned to his role in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

One Indianapolis Colts head coaching candidate revealed why he ultimately didn’t sign with the team last month.

New York Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, who went through two rounds of interviews for the vacant Colts HC job, said he did not agree with the team philosophically.

“I do know I was a leading candidate, but there were some things they wanted to do that I didn’t want to do,” Martindale told NJ Advance Media’s Bob Brookover, according to Giants Wire’s Dan Benton.

Martindale did not provide any specifics on his statement but noted that he’s satisfied staying in East Rutherford.

“This is a prime destination right here in New York,” Martindale said. “I’m not saying I’m not going to go interview (for another head-coaching job) because that’s how you grow as a person. You have to go talk to people. I’m glad that I did it.”

Martindale added that he appreciates the time Colts owner Jim Irsay spent with him.

“I think there is some negativity out there with Jim Irsay that snowballs a little bit and it’s not like the perception,” Martindale said. “The best way I can describe it is that he’s a very fascinating guy. We talked for four hours and he did a lot of the talking.”

Martindale may be referring to the public reaction Irsay received after the Colts hired Jeff Saturday as interim coach last November. Saturday did not have any previous professional coaching experience and finished 2022 with a 1-7 record.

Ever since the Colts’ offseason began, Martindale was linked to their open HC job. At one point, Martindale was even described as a frontrunner, but Indianapolis eliminated him from contention on February 10 and hired Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen days later.

Colts LBs In Demand

The Colts have sorted out their coaching staff but still have to decide what to do with their impending free-agent linebackers.

The Score’s Jordan Schultz reported on March 1 that Bobby Okereke and E.J. Speed are two Colts players that will be “highly coveted” by other teams this offseason.

Okereke notched a career-high 151 tackles with two forced fumbles and five passes defended. Speed had a career-high 63 tackles of his own while also forcing two fumbles and adding two pass breakups.

Schultz even made the case that Speed “is ready to start too,” meaning the Colts would likely bring only one (or none) of their free-agent LBs back.

Whoever starts at weakside linebacker next for the Colts is joining an already talented duo in Shaquille Leonard and Zaire Franklin.

Leonard, a three-time All-Pro, only played in three games last season due to a neck injury but hopes to return to 100% soon. Franklin, on the other hand, broke Leonard’s record for the most tackles in a single Colts season with 166.

Indianapolis Hosting Week-Long Combine

The Colts are hosting the NFL Combine yet again — this time, from February 26 to March 6. Steichen and general manager Chris Ballard spoke to the media on March 1 in part of the team hosting the event.

Both will watch three first-round quarterback prospects throw in their stadium on March 4: C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis.

Colts are likely targeting a rookie signal caller via the draft, but recent speculation has been that they could trade up from the No. 4 spot to get the QB they want.

Ballard, who has notably traded down in drafts during his Indianapolis tenure, even said the Colts could stand pat and select a QB there.

The speculation will only continue as prospects continue to show out at the NFL Combine.

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