Leading candidate reportedly withdraws from Jaguars coach search
The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to struggle to fill their head coach vacancy, with a leading candidate reportedly set to withdraw from consideration.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will reportedly withdraw from consideration for the position, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Leftwich, a former Jaguars quarterback, had reportedly been a top candidate for the job.
Hearing Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is expected to remove himself from consideration for the Jaguars head coaching job soon. Former Raiders interim HC Rich Bisaccia and former Eagles coach Doug Pederson remain strong candidates.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) February 3, 2022
Former Eagles coach Doug Pederson and former Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia remain in contention for the job.
While we don’t know exactly why Leftwich might be pulling out of contention, speculation centers around the role of Jaguars GM Trent Baalke. Leftwich reportedly made clear in his interview that he could not work with Baalke. According to John Reid of the Florida Times-Union, some around the league believe that was a mistake on Leftwich’s part.
Amazing at Senior Bowl the chatter is Byron Leftwich made a mistake that he made it known that he couldn't work with Trent Baalke when the question was presented to him. He suggested the Jaguars should hire his guy Adrian Wilson as GM.
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 3, 2022
What is clear is that Baalke has been a major drag on Jacksonville’s coaching search. Leftwich was not the only candidate with concerns about working for him, and he is clearly viewed with suspicion in coaching circles. The fact that the Jaguars are apparently willing to lose out on Leftwich to keep Baalke is surprising, and will do nothing to improve Baalke’s deep unpopularity among the team’s fans.
Photo: Oct 17, 2021; London, England, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan (Shahid Khan) watches from the sidelines during an NFL International Series game against the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports