Jaguars to be sold; Del Rio fired
NFL.com news: Jaguars fire coach Del Rio after eight-plus seasons
Rush Limbaugh will get his team and in 3 years the Jags will be in their new home in L.A.
Jaguars fire coach Del Rio after eight-plus seasons
The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired longtime head coach Jack Del Rio, a team source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora. Del Rio informed his coaching staff of the decision on Tuesday, according to the source.
A source told NFL Network's Albert Breer that defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will take over as interim head coach. Tucker joined the Jaguars in 2009 following four seasons as an assistant with the Cleveland Browns. Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver also confirmed Tuesday that he would be selling the team to Pakistani-born entrepreneur and auto-parts mogul Shahid Khan. Kahn told Sports Illustrated he intends to keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Kahn lost out on an attempt to buy the St. Louis Rams when Stan Kroenke bought the team in 2010. In a press conference Tuesday, Weaver said Kahn was not involved in the decision to fire Del Rio, but that the decision on who would replace him will likely be a "joint effort" between the two men. "I think I'll play a major role in influencing that decision based on conversations that Shahid and I have had," Weaver said. "He trusts my experience." Weaver said the unusually active day was "bittersweet." "I told Jack that I appreciated the nine years that he served the team, but I told Jack that we deserved better," Weaver said. "We've been very average over the last couple of years." Hired by the Jaguars in 2003, Del Rio finishes his career in Jacksonville with a 69-73 overall record, including a 1-2 mark in the postseason. His team hasn't made the playoffs since 2007, when Jacksonville finished 11-5 and qualified as a wild card. The Jaguars didn't win the AFC South in any of his nine seasons. The second head coach in team history, Del Rio's job security had been tenuous since Weaver said the coach needed to make the playoffs this year to secure a 10th season in Jacksonville. The Jaguars were essentially eliminated with Sunday's 20-13 loss to Houston. Following the game Weaver was asked if a decision had been made on Del Rio's coaching future. "Now is not the time," Weaver said Sunday. "That's for another day."
Weaver said Tuesday he wanted to announce both moves -- Del Rio's firing and the sale of the team -- at the same time, hoping to avoid an awkward situation. The Jaguars, who are struggling to sell tickets, next host a Monday night game against San Diego. Weaver considered firing Del Rio after last season, but kept him partly because of the uncertainty surrounding the NFL lockout. Weaver refused to give contract extensions to any of Del Rio's assistants, putting everyone on alert that this was a win-or-else season. Del Rio refused to let offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and linebackers coach Mark Duffner interview for lateral positions. He couldn't stop quarterbacks coach Mike Shula, whose contract ended, and receivers coach Todd Monken, who returned to a college job at Oklahoma State, from bolting.
Given the situation, the pool of coaches wanting to come to Jacksonville was small, so Del Rio had few options while rebuilding his staff. Del Rio hinted this season that his hands were tied in terms of what he could do to assemble the best staff. Fans have been clamoring for his departure for years, with many calling for him to be fired following a 5-11 finish in 2008. Instead, Weaver parted ways with personnel chief James "Shack" Harris and selected Gene Smith the general manager. Smith has rebuilt the roster over the last three years. But the Jaguars have shown no progress under Del Rio's leadership.