Urban Meyer was announced as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars on January 14. His tenure as head coach was quiet for all of four weeks. Then, two days ago, the team announced the hiring of Chris Doyle, the former Iowa strength coach who left the program in June following accusations of racial bias from numerous players.
That is not something that can slide under the radar, and it didn't. Thursday afternoon brought a firestorm of criticism from all sides. Then Doyle resigned late on Friday night. Meyer had to release a statement to Adam Schefter at 11:17 p.m. ET. Whenever a head coach has to release a statement that late on any day of the week, circumstances are dire.
Yes, "greater consideration" definitely should have been given when hiring this man. The Jaguars then had to release another version of the same statement on Saturday morning because the above statement did not include the name of general manager Trent Baalke, who presumably also had a say in Meyer's decision to hire Doyle.
Just a disaster all around here. Two statements released less than 12 hours apart over the hiring of a Director of Sports Performance. One would be hard-pressed to find a single NFL fan, no matter how die-hard they might be, who knows the Director of Sports Performance for their franchise. Now everybody who loosely follows the league knows precisely who the Jags tried to hire for this position and why it was problematic. That should indicate how bad of a screw-up this is.
For a first-time head coach in the NFL, the ideal offseason involves little to no press about hiring decisions. For someone with a controversial history of such decision-making like Meyer, it was crucial to get off on the right foot for the new gig. He failed in that. Catastrophically, I might add. The number of potential hires who would cause this level of outcry is extremely short. Yet here we are.
A tough start, and it was entirely self-inflicted. Perhaps next team Meyer and the team will think twice before hiring a coach who was accused of racial bias. Hopefully they never get to the point where they have to think twice. But if it happened once...