Colts paying former coach Frank Reich $9 million a year through 2026, according to ESPN

Earlier this month, former Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich said he wasn't "even close to bitter" over getting fired by the team this season.

That could be partly due to the fact he'll receive as much as $36 million from the team through 2026, according to ESPN. It was included in a story on the NFL telling teams they have spent $800 million on fired coaches and executives over the last five years.

"I’m thankful for my time in Indianapolis, thankful to the Irsay family," said Reich, who wants to continue coaching, earlier this month. "He gave me the opportunity to be a head coach.”

The Colts announced a contract extension through 2026 for Reich – and general manager Chris Ballard – on Aug. 11, 2021, but didn't disclose his salary. He was fired Nov. 7 with a 3-5-1 record and replaced by interim coach Jeff Saturday, who had no previous college or NFL coaching experience. Saturday is 1-4, having been outscored 33-0 by Dallas in the fourth quarter and blowing an NFL-record 33-point lead to Minnesota in his last two games.

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Reich was 40-33-1 as the Colts coach, making the playoffs twice in four-plus seasons, but the team suffered back-to-back embarrassing losses to end the 2021 season in addition to this year's sub-.500 record.

“In Chris Ballard and Frank Reich, we have as great a general manager-head coach combination as there is in the NFL, and I can’t tell you how proud I am to have them leading our franchise,” team owner Jim Irsay said in the statement announcing the extensions. “I truly believe this football team is on the doorstep of great things, and that’s because of the culture both have cultivated in their time with the Horseshoe. Whether we are marching toward the playoffs or facing adversity, whether we are building our roster or making a difference in the community, we have the ideal leaders in Chris and Frank.”

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts paying fired coach Frank Reich $36 million through 2026