Jim Caldwell: 'Absolutely' got fair shake with Colts

ByMichael Rothstein via ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 7, 2016

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell believes he "absolutely" got a fair shake from the Indianapolis Colts when he was fired after three seasons in January, 2012.

This comes as Caldwell prepares to take the Lions to Indianapolis on Sunday to face the Colts -- the first time he'll coach a game inside Lucas Oil Stadium since he was let go after the 2011 season.

"I'll just tell you this and I think you know me from all these years that I believe that this is a game where you have to win football games," Caldwell said. "You don't win football games, you're subject to be fired. I've always believed that and not only that, you have a right to be. I've always believed that and never will change in that regard. Don't back away from it. "That's the nature of our business. Since I started coaching years ago, I always believed that to be the case so we got to do our part."

Caldwell spent 10 seasons in Indianapolis with Peyton Manning. He was Manning's quarterbacks coach and the Colts' assistant head coach. He was elevated to head coach after Tony Dungy retired following the 2008 season. Caldwell led the Colts to a Super Bowl appearance in his first season, losing to the New Orleans Saints.

The Colts won the AFC South again in 2010 and lost in the wild card round to the Jets. In Caldwell's third season, Indianapolis went 2-14 with Manning missing the entire season with a neck injury. Owner Jim Irsay cleaned house after the season, firing Bill Polian and then Caldwell. Caldwell finished his three seasons in Indianapolis with a 26-22 record and a 2-2 record in the playoffs.

Positioned with the first pick in the 2012 draft, the Colts then took the quarterback who will face Caldwell on Sunday -- Andrew Luck. Caldwell, from afar, is impressed with Luck.

"What I know about what we scouted him when he was coming out, he's a third-story intellectual," Caldwell said. "He's big, strong, fast and he can throw the ball extremely well, make all the throws. That's what I know about him from that standpoint."