Yes, it was time for Jaguars executive V.P. of football operations Tom Coughlin to go. In hindsight, it arguably was a mistake to hire a lifelong coach to be anything but one. But Jaguars owner Shad Khan could soon regret the rush to fire Coughlin.
Per multiple sources, the two-time Super Bowl winner was planning to retire at the end of the season. One source suggested that Coughlin had planned to announce next week that he’d leave the organization upon conclusion of the Week 17 game against the Colts.
But if he indeed had to go today, in the aftermath of a series of player grievance rulings confirming that the time for his hard-line tactics with players has come and gone, why not give him a chance to leave on his own terms? Through a spokesman, Jaguars owner Shad Khan has admitted that Coughlin was not given an opportunity to resign or retire before being fired.
He should have been. He likely would have accepted, and he could have left with some degree of dignity, in a way that minimizes the impact of such a difficult outcome on Coughlin and his family.
Coughlin didn’t undergo an organic personality change when he returned to Jacksonville. He is who he’s always been. And that no longer works in the NFL, especially when still acting like a coach while in a job other than coach.
So why not let him walk away, with his head held semi-high? Instead, Khan gave in to the mob mentality that has emerged via comments from current players and a stinging rebuke from their union, which expressly warned all members to think twice before signing with the Jaguars.
It’s too late to take it back, too late to let Coughlin resign or retire. There are few certainties in this business, but here’s one that can be guaranteed: Khan will regret the way this one was handled.