Chris Doyle has resigned from the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff just one day after his controversial hiring was announced, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Doyle was hired by new head coach Urban Meyer to serve as the Jaguars’ director of sport performance, and it was a decision that was met with serious backlash. Because of said backlash, Doyle decided continuing with the new gig was not in the Jaguars’ best interest.
On Friday night, coach Meyer released a statement claiming Doyle had come to him to submit his resignation, and that Jacksonville had accepted.
“Chris Doyle came to us this evening to submit his resignation and we have accepted. Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville. We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved. We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.”
The former head strength and conditioning coach at Iowa was put on administrative leave following multiple African-American players alleging he had treated them negatively and unfairly because of their race. Doyle departed from his position with Iowa last June.
Earlier on Friday, Fritz Pollard Alliance executive director Rod Graves released a statement that called Boyle’s hiring “unacceptable,” and Meyer’s defense of the hire an example of the problems minority coaches face in the NFL.
“At a time when the NFL has failed to solve its problem with racial hiring practices, it is simply unacceptable to welcome Chris Doyle into the ranks of NFL coaches. Doyle’s departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure riddled with poor judgment and mistreatment of Black players. His conduct should be as disqualifying for the NFL as it was for University of Iowa. Urban Meyer’s statement, ‘I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years’, reflects the good ol’boy network that is precisely the reason there is such a disparity in employment opportunities for Black coaches.”
The Fritz Pollard Alliance exists to champion diversity in the NFL through education and providing its membership with resources that will help them succeed at every level of the game, according to their official website. They were not the only organization to criticize Meyer’s hire, as Doyle’s place in the NFL was discussed by several major sports outlets following the announcement of his hiring.
As the Fritz Pollard Alliance points out, on Thursday, Meyer defended the hiring of Doyle when discussing his staff with reporters. He issued this statement on the decision, via NFL.com:
“I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years. Our relationship goes back to when I was at Utah, and he was the No. 1 strength coach. He was doing sports performance before sports performance became a high priority in college sports. I’ve known him. I’ve studied him. We’ve had a relationship. I vetted him thoroughly, along with our general manager [Trent Baalke] and owner [Shad Khan]. Feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position. So we vetted him thoroughly. Sports performance is going to be a high, high priority. As it really in the last probably 10 years, certainly at Ohio State, that became if not the most important — you know my relationship with Coach [Mickey] Marotti at Ohio State — but this whole from strength training room, physical therapy, sports psychology, and nutrition all falls under the sports performance team umbrella. And I wanted to get the best of the best.”
The Doyle era in Jacksonville has come and gone quickly, which is probably something that is for the best when it comes to an organization with a brand new staff that is charged with rebuilding not only the football program, but its reputation as well.