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The first dose of NFL reality for Urban Meyer came from the reaction to his effort to hire Chris Doyle to serve as the team’s director of sports performance. Many loudly questioned the move given the accusations of a history of racist remarks made by Doyle while working for the University of Iowa football program.
Meyer moved quickly to sever ties with Doyle. Meyer explained the decision by citing a desire to avoid distractions.
“I saw the impact of the decision and the distraction it caused,” Meyer said at the time. “The most important part of the organization is and always will be our players, and I just — we both felt, we all felt, when I say both, Trent [Baalke] and myself, and then Chris Doyle felt it was best, that this team didn’t need [any distractions]. Everything’s going too well. We hired an excellent staff. We don’t need a distraction, and [to] move forward is the best interest of all.”
Although Doyle himself was the source of the distraction, Meyer caused the distraction by hiring Doyle. More recently, Meyer provides both the distraction and the cause of it. His reasoning from March has fresh relevance, given the ongoing situation in Jacksonville arising from Meyer’s Ohio misadventures.
The only difference, of course, is that “everything’s” not “going too well.” Some would say that’s all the more reason for Meyer to step aside and alleviate the distraction.
Owner Shad Khan suggested in Tuesday’s statement that Meyer won’t be fired. However, Khan’s strong language coupled with the team’s current uphill climb could make Meyer more inclined to tap out and walk away, like he previously did in both Gainesville and Columbus.
There were suggestions on Tuesday morning that the Jaguars were looking for a way to fire Meyer for cause, shutting off his entitlement to the balance of his contract. If he resigns, he gets nothing.
It’s possible that the Jaguars and Meyer will try to negotiate a partial loaf that gives him some of what he’s owed in exchange for walking away now. That’s the cleanest and easiest way for everyone to move on, if that’s where this is heading.
Urban Meyer’s explanation for Chris Doyle’s departure has fresh relevance originally appeared on Pro Football Talk