Even as the Dolphins parted with interim coach Dan Campbell after the 2015 season, there was no doubt they were letting go someone who’d be a head coach in the NFL someday.
That day might come this week.
The Indianapolis Colts, left at the alter by Josh McDaniels, planned a Thursday interview with Campbell, who already received an endorsement from an NFL heavyweight: Bill Parcells, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Garafolo said Parcells has recommended Campbell to Colts general manager Chris Ballard.
Campbell’s ties to Parcells go about as far back as possible. As a student at Texas A&M, Campbell was assigned to do a research paper on leadership. His subject was Parcells, a two-time Super Bowl-winning coach of the Giants and former head of football operations for the Dolphins.
“You can call me ‘Little Tuna,’ ” Campbell once said.
Dolphins fans will recall that Campbell took over when Joe Philbin was fired in 2015, leading the Dolphins to a 5-7 record and gaining huge support from players to be retained on a full-time basis. After the Dolphins beat the Patriots to finish that season, players chanted Campbell’s name to send a message to management.
“He gets it out of his players,” safety Michael Thomas said at the time. “Just to work hard, be intense, bring that intensity on game days, and it’s up to us to go out there and make the plays. That’s why it’s disappointing. We didn’t go out there and make the plays to help him out to get the job.”
In the end, the Dolphins hired Adam Gase, but even then, owner Stephen Ross said, “I love Dan Campbell.”
Campbell then headed to New Orleans to reunite with Sean Payton and serve as his tight ends coach/assistant head coach.
Despite the awkward nature of the coaching search, the Colts reportedly have several other candidates in mind, including Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, Eagles QB John DeFilippo, Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub and Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable.