Jaguars Fire Coughlin As Team Deals With NFL Players Union Fallout

Dec 19, 2019

The Jaguars have fired Tom Coughlin, the team’s executive vice president of football operations.

Owner Shad Khan released a statement Wednesday night after an arbitration ruling found the Jacksonville Jaguars’ punishment of former defensive end Dante Fowler violated the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with players.

Shad Khan’s statement:

Within the past hour I informed Tom Coughlin that he was being relieved of his duties as Executive Vice President of Football Operations of the Jacksonville Jaguars, effective this evening.

I determined earlier this fall that making this move at the conclusion of the 2019 season would be in everyone’s best interests but, in recent days, I reconsidered and decided to make this change immediately.

I thank Tom for his efforts, not only over the past three years but for all he did from our very first season, 25 years ago, to put the Jacksonville Jaguars on the map. General Manager Dave Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone will each report directly to me on an interim basis. My expectations, and those of our fans, for our final two games and the 2020 season are high.

The team fined Fowler $700,000 for missing what the Jaguars said were mandatory appointments with a trainer or a doctor at the club’s facilities during the off-season, something teams can’t force players to do.

Fowler isn’t the only Jaguars player to complain about his treatment.  The NFL Players Association said a quarter of all the grievances filed since 2017 have been for players on the Jacksonville team.

WJCT sports analyst Cole Pepper said the Association has also warned future NFL players to think twice before signing with the Jaguars.

“It's going to impact how difficult it is to keep their own players and it may impact who they can hire as a general manager and a coach if they go in that direction. Because if the guy has other options, why would you want to go somewhere where players may not want to sign? It is a real torpedo into the side of the Jaguars right now.”

The Jaguars go into this Sunday’s game against the Falcons in Atlanta with 5 wins and 9 losses. 

Pepper said managing Marrone and Caldwell directly could be eye opening for Khan. "I suspect the Jaguars’ owner will learn a lot about the way the NFL operates on a day to day basis,” adding, "I think this is going to be a big education for Shad Khan that, hopefully, will make him a better NFL owner going forward.”

The Jaguars' final game of the season is December 29 when they take on the Colts at home in Jacksonville.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at choskinson@wjct.org, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter at @cydwjctnews.