The red-hot Indianapolis Colts have been preparing all week for their AFC wild-card playoff game today in Houston.
At the appropriate time, Jamestown native and Colts’ offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni will reportedly be prepping for something entirely different.
How does an interview for the vacant head coaching position with the Cleveland Browns sound?
The 1999 Southwestern Central School graduate is one of several candidates for the job, according to numerous media outlets. The Browns have asked for permission to speak with Sirianni, but — per NFL rules — they cannot interview the 37-year-old this week because of today’s playoff game with the Texans. If Indianapolis wins, however, Cleveland will be eligible to speak with Sirianni through the end of the divisional round the next week.
“The way you handle it is you just be a professional,” Colts head coach Frank Reich told the Indianapolis Star on Wednesday. “There is a time and a place for it. It can’t in any way take away from any of the preparation for the coming opponent.”
In their first season in Indianapolis, head coach Frank Reich, left, and offensive coordinator and Jamestown native Nick Sirianni have guided the Colts into the playoffs. Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts
“There’s no time to think about it,” Sirianni told the Star. “I haven’t thought about it at all really, to be honest with you.”
For those who have paid attention to Sirianni’s ascendance in the coaching ranks, it’s not surprising that he’s in the conversation, because he certainly has had his share of role models in that profession.
Father Fran, a member of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, coached Southwestern High School from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s; brother Mike is the head coach at Washington & Jefferson College where he has compiled one of the best winning percentages in the NCAA; and brother Jay coached Southwestern to a pair of New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships in 2008 and 2009.
Once the youngest Sirianni arrived at the University of Mount Union, he played for Larry Kehres, who guided the Purple Raiders to 11 national championships in his career. Upon his graduation, Sirianni began his climb up the coaching ranks with stops at Mount Union, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the Kansas Chiefs and the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, before joining Reich’s staff in Indianapolis last February.
“One of the reasons I’m in the position I’m in now is because of the successful coaches I’ve been around, starting with growing up in a coach’s house, learning how to coach with my brothers, and then, obviously, playing for the most successful coach in NCAA football history in Larry Kehres,” he told The Post-Journal last October. “Gosh, I went to school to study education when I went to Mount Union, but I was really getting my PhD in football coaching.”
The hard work has paid off.
After the Colts started the season 1-5 this season, they’ve won nine of their last 10 games, including last weekend’s victory at Tennessee that secured a postseason berth. Working in tandem with Reich, Sirianni has helped quarterback Andrew Luck turn in a robust season after missing all of 2017 with a shoulder injury. In playing all 16 games, Luck has completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns. He owns a 98.7 passer rating, which is the best of his career.
“It’s the grind and process,” Sirianni told The Post-Journal in October. “It’s paying attention to every little detail you could ever imagine.”
Sirianni will get a chance to impress the Browns with that attention to detail during his interview, but first thing’s first.
“I think it is (a goal) for a lot of coaches,” he told The Athletic earlier this week. “I know it’s not everybody’s ambition, but it is for me. When the opportunity presents itself, it’ll be a great thing. But I love this football team and I’m really thankful to Frank for hiring me to be a part of this football team. I love these guys and I just want to beat the Texans.”