Jags coach on leave after dad dies

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars are heading to London without coach Gus Bradley, who has left the team to be with his family after the death of his father.

Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said Monday that defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker will serve as the interim coach until Bradley rejoins the team, which will be sometime later this week. The Jaguars' first practice in London will be Wednesday.

Caldwell said Bradley had a hard time deciding to leave the team on the verge of its trip to London, where they will play the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, but the team encouraged him to be with his family.

"Many of you guys know Coach Bradley and been around him enough to know that he's a very tough-minded man, has a lot of intestinal fortitude, and he really struggled with this decision, whether to lead his team or to lead his family," Caldwell said. "We made it for him this morning to go home to be with his family and his mom to take care of what he needed there.

"We have enough confidence in our coaching staff here and our team here that we're going to take care of our business and Coach Bradley will rejoin the team as soon as he can."

Caldwell said that 85-year-old Roy James Bradley died late Sunday night at his home in Zumbrota, Minn. He is survived by his wife, Gloria, and six children.

Walker said the team was informed of the death of Bradley's father and Bradley's departure on Monday morning.

"Coach Bradley has been good to all of us and any time a situation like this pops up when you're a family you're going to feel bad and you're going to have some sensitive feelings," Walker said. "I think our team is a tight-knit family and I'm sure guys are hurting."

Walker joined the Jaguars' staff in January after spending the past four seasons as the head coach at New Mexico State. He had spent seven seasons as an NFL assistant with New England, Washington and the New York Giants. Caldwell said Walker will handle head coaching administrative duties until Bradley returns.

Walker said Bradley asked him to step in for him on Monday morning.

"I think to a certain degree he could have closed his eyes and just picked any coach because I think all the coaches are capable of doing what he asked me to do," Walker said. "I just want to make sure that I don't embarrass him and do a good job and try to keep everything in place for when he returns."