Notes from Wayne Weaver’s news conference at which he announced he fired Jack Del Rio as head coach, installed defensive coordinator Mel Tucker as the interim coach, given general manager Gene Smith a new three-year contract, and is selling the team to Shahid Khan.
Weaver said it would have been unfair to allow Del Rio to “twist in the wind,” thanked him for his nine years with the team and wished him well.
Weaver said the team has been average in recent years, that the city deserves better and that the Jaguars are not far from being a competitive football team. He praised the defense and said the offense can be fixed in the next offseason and with another draft or two.
Weaver promised Tucker the opportunity to interview for the head coaching job after the season. The owner called the new coach one of the team’s bright spots.
The coaching search will be extensive, and Weaver will have a hand in it even if the team has changed ownership. He indicated they'd look at experienced coaches and up-and-comers.
Extending Smith provides the organization some stability in football operations and Smith has the power to re-sign his people in the front office, Weaver said.
The exit strategy Weaver’s spoken of in the past came together faster than he expected with Khan. Roger Goodell has given his nod and Weaver sees smooth sailing through the NFL’s ownership committee and owners, who could approve the deal at a Dec. 14 meeting. The sale is then slated to close Jan. 4. Weaver turns 77 in January and said he and his wife will travel, that he will be the team’s biggest cheerleader and offer any help Shah requests.
Weaver said it was bittersweet in many ways, but a positive day all around.