INDIANAPOLIS —Anthony Lynn made a promise to Nick Sirianni.
If other teams came calling — and he knew it was only a matter of time that they would — and Sirianni had a chance to move up in the coaching ranks, Lynn would agree to release him from his coaching contact with the Los Angeles Chargers to pursue those opportunities.
But, quite frankly, Lynn didn't anticipate a team requesting to interview, and then wanting to hire, Sirianni more than a month after the end of the 2017 regular season. Usually by that time, most coaching staffs for the upcoming season have already been formed, and offseason plans are well underway.
But Lynn not only was aware of the unique situation the Indianapolis Colts were facing — he's a man of his word.
Frank Reich, who had been hired as the Colts' new head coach on Feb. 11, had hand-picked Sirianni to be his offensive coordinator. Lynn, the Chargers' head coach, accordingly released Sirianni from his contract in Los Angeles soon thereafter.
Lynn explained his decision to Colts.com last week at the NFL's annual meetings in Orlando, Fla.
"Oh, it's a heck of an opportunity for him," Lynn said of Sirianni. "And that's why, even though it happened so late, that's why we let him go, because of the opportunity."
Sirianni comes to the Colts with 14 years of coaching experience, the last nine of which have been spent at the NFL level. He began his career in the college game, coaching defensive backs at his alma mater, the University of Mount Union, from 2004-05 before moving on to become wide receivers coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania from 2006-08.
He started his NFL coaching career in Kansas City as an offensive quality control coach for the Chiefs from 2009-11 before being promoted to wide receivers coach in 2012.
He moved on to the Chargers in 2013 as an offensive quality control coach, and the next two years served as quarterbacks coach before wrapping up his time on the West Coast as wide receivers coach the last two seasons.
It was in San Diego that Sirianni began to form a strong bond with Reich, who served as the Chargers' quarterbacks coach in 2013 before becoming their offensive coordinator in 2014-15. Reich said last week having Sirianni as his offensive coordinator is "a huge advantage."
"Nick and I worked together for years," Reich said at the annual AFC/NFC coaches breakfast. "When it comes to offensive philosophy and things we want to do, we can finish each other's sentences. So, between the two of us, that can be integrated into the offensive staff at every level. Everyone's been working a lot of hours to accelerate that process."
For his part, however, Lynn didn't necessarily have to let Sirianni out of his grasp on the Chargers' staff.
But, as Reich found out, if Lynn says something, he'll back it up when the cards are on the table.
"Any guy that's as loyal as Nick and dedicated, committed to doing his job the way he did it with us, you know, I had no problems at all letting him out of his contract (to) go have that opportunity," Lynn said.