Reports: Colts will retain DC Bradley, hire Sparano Jr. as OL coach

Feb. 27—INDIANAPOLIS — Gus Bradley will remain the Indianapolis Colts' defensive coordinator, and Tony Sparano Jr. is expected to be hired as the team's offensive line coach.

That news broke Monday in separate reports from ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and The Record's Art Stapleton, respectively.

Bradley, who worked for four seasons with new Colts head coach Shane Steichen on the Los Angeles Chargers' coaching staff, has long been expected to be retained for a second season in Indianapolis.

The Colts blocked interview requests from other teams for open defensive coordinator positions, and Bradley said in January he would like the opportunity to build on the foundation he's laid in Indianapolis.

"There's things that we've learned about this unit — what works well and our skill set and where our players are — so we've had conversations as a defensive staff about, 'Boy, really, now if we take this out and add this in in the offseason, I think it will help this group take another step,'" Bradley said ahead of the season finale against the Houston Texans. "You'd like to, for their sake, have something where you can add on to what you've done."

Bradley's defense started out strong in his first season with Indianapolis but faded in the final month. The Colts allowed more than 30 points in four of their final four games — a stretch that included a 33-point fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys, a blown 33-point halftime lead against the Minnesota Vikings and a fourth-quarter comeback by the Texans.

Three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard played just 74 snaps while recovering from back surgery, and Pro Bowl cornerback Kenny Moore II missed the final five games with an ankle injury.

Indianapolis finished 28th in scoring defense (25.1 points per game), a number that was inflated by a 36.6-point average over the final five games. The Colts were 15th in total defense, with an average of 334 yards surrendered per game.

Sparano is the son of former Miami Dolphins head coach and long-time NFL offensive line coach Tony Sparano.

Sparano Jr. played defensive end at the University of Albany and broke into the coaching ranks as an assistant defensive line coach with the defunct Hartford Colonials in a previous iteration of the USFL.

He joined the NFL as an offensive quality control coach on his father's staff with the Dolphins in 2011 and then spent two years as a coaching intern with the New York Jets. In 2014, Jets head coach Rex Ryan promoted Sparano to an offensive assistant and then took him to the Buffalo Bills as the tight ends coach in 2015-16.

Sparano joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as the assistant offensive line coach from 2017-20 and served in the same role with the Carolina Panthers in 2021 and New York Giants in 2022.

Giants running backs coach DeAndre Smith also is expected to join Steichen's staff in Indianapolis this year.