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NFL

Jacksonville’s Chris Doyle Era Ends, Very Quickly

Former Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle
Screenshot: Big Ten Network

Chris Doyle has resigned as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ director of sports performance after one day on the job, a tenure that will be remembered for not really anything except inviting scrutiny and revealing the NFL’s racial justice messaging to be even emptier than it already seemed. Before being hired by the Jaguars on Thursday, Doyle had worked as a strength and conditioning coach at Iowa for 20 years. He left that job in June of 2020, after dozens of former Iowa players described him in public statements as a racist bully.

Late Friday night, the Jaguars announced Doyle’s resignation in a statement from head coach Urban Meyer, who told reporters Thursday that he’d vetted Doyle “thoroughly.” The team amended the statement Saturday morning to say Jaguars GM Trent Baalke’s name was “inadvertently left off the statement” and that it should be attributed to both Baalke and Meyer:

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.

What a feat of statementing! In this telling, Doyle, a victim of media hounding, has generously stepped aside. Meyer and Baalke, despite assuring everyone just one day earlier of “a lot of hard questions asked” and “a lot of vetting involved” in Doyle’s hiring, now recognize they “should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved.” (Who is involved, and in what they are involved, is left for us to fill in.)

You can read that as Meyer admitting he should have given greater consideration to not being in Columbus anymore. If the ado about a GM’s name being on the statement was a completely meaningless mistake, the correction still captures kind of nicely the differences between running a college football program and coaching an NFL team, where fewer opportunities for control and new institutional pressures await Meyer. On Friday afternoon, Rod Graves, the executive director of the non-profit Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advocates for diverse hiring in the NFL, called it “simply unacceptable to welcome Chris Doyle into the ranks of NFL coaches.”

So congratulations to Urban Meyer for making himself, his team, and the NFL look stupid and shameless for the sake of it. And congratulations to Chris Doyle, who, according to the screwed-up compensatory logic of football programs, will surely leave Jacksonville with one trillion dollars in severance for his trouble.