Colts, Josh McDaniels to meet Friday for second interview

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels looks on during the first half against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The latest and expected step in the Indianapolis Colts and Josh McDaniels joining forces will be taken Friday.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, a second interview between the team and the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator has been set for Friday. That source previously mentioned the sides were “close’’ on a multi-year contract making McDaniels the Colts’ latest head coach, although unspecified issues remained to be resolved.

Despite the apparent inevitability of a Colts-McDaniels collaboration, nothing can be finalized until after the Patriots’ appearance in Super Bowl LII Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.

The Colts launched a search for Chuck Pagano’s successor after they fired him Dec. 31 following six seasons. General manager Chris Ballard led the search that included interviews with several candidates including McDaniels, Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, Seattle defensive coordinator Kris Richard and Baylor coach Matt Rhule.

Speculation quickly zeroed in on a Colts and McDaniels pairing.

It’s uncertain where the follow-up interview with McDaniels will take place, but it might be in the Boston-Foxborough area.

The Patriots are practicing this week before leaving Monday for Minneapolis and their meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. The Colts would ease McDaniels’ workload and limit his distractions by traveling to meet him as opposed to having him break his routine and travel to Indy.

The second interview almost certainly would include owner Jim Irsay. Earlier this month he said Ballard would do the “heavy lifting’’ on the coaching search but also noted he would be involved in the final phase of a hiring.

“The general manager is in charge of leading the search, bringing in candidates, eventually bringing the owner . . . the best candidate or two or three,” Irsay said, adding “I’m sure there hasn’t been a time where I haven’t followed the recommendations of what the general manager had recommended to me.”

The Colts and Detroit Lions are the only teams yet to fill head coaching vacancies, and each is waiting on the Patriots to wrap up their season. Detroit reportedly has settled on Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51