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INDIANAPOLIS — It became official Tuesday that Jeff Saturday had coached his last game as the Indianapolis’ Colts head coach when the team announced it hired Shane Steichen to fill the position.

Saturday served as interim coach during the final eight games of the season following the mid-season firing of Frank Reich. A Colts Ring of Honor member for his accomplishments as a player, Saturday had never coached at the collegiate or professional ranks. The unorthodox hire drew scrutiny both locally and at the national level. However, owner Jim Irsay insisted Saturday’s leadership made him the man for the job.

Despite losing seven straight to end the season — including the largest collapse in NFL history at Minnesota — Indianapolis leadership maintained that Saturday was in the running for the long-term head coach job. Saturday interviewed for the position after the season, and reports indicated he was one of the finalists. Desperate for someone new, some Colts fans went as far as to create a petition on titled “Don’t hire Jeff Saturday as head coach.” The petition received over 4,000 signatures.

After an intensive coaching search that dragged on for roughly a month, the Colts opted for Steichen, who coordinated one of the league’s top offenses and helped develop quarterback Jalen Hurts into an MVP candidate.

Not long after the announcement, Saturday took to Twitter to offer a message to Colts Nation.

“First I just wanted to say to the Colts organization, to Colts Nation, how much I appreciate the opportunity,” Saturday began with the sun glistening off a lake in the background behind him. “I’m so grateful for the last eight weeks of the season and the opportunity to represent you guys.

“I appreciate the coaches for all your time, energy and effort. To all the players laying it out there each and every week, I can’t tell you how much I respect and appreciate what each and every player, not only for the Colts but for the NFL, do and what they put on the line each and every week.

“It was an absolute blessing. I look fondly upon it. I wish we would have done better, but ultimately, that it where it is.

“I want to wish coach Steichen the best of luck. I’m still a huge Colts fan and pulling for you guys. Looking forward to hoisting some Lombardi trophies and excited for your opportunity.

“So for everybody out there, including the however-many-thousand which signed the petition, which may have included my wife and son, not exactly sure,” Saturday continued with a chuckle. “But in all honesty, I’m so grateful for Colts Nation and who you are. To represent the Horseshoe, it meant the world to me.

“And again, coach Steichen best of luck to you and your family. Indianapolis is an incredible town. Best fans in the world, man. You’re going to get the greatest support, and I look forward to watching your success and the rest of the men in the locker room and that coaching staff you have with you.

“So to all of Colts Nation, I appreciate you guys, love you guys, and see you soon.”

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