Less than 48 hours after the Jacksonville Jaguars announced the hiring of Chris Doyle, the Director of Sports Performance has tendered his resignation, the club announced late Friday night.
In a statement released by the club, Head Coach Urban Meyer shared the news.
"Chris Doyle came to us this evening to submit his resignation and we have accepted. Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville. We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved. We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career."
Doyle was the Iowa Hawkeyes' strength and conditioning coach for over 20 years (1999-2019) before he and Iowa entered a "separation agreement" following numerous former players alleging the program had racial disparities, referencing alleged racial remarks and mistreatment by Doyle. Doyle disputed the claims, but it resulted with the end of his tenure at Iowa.
Less than a year later, Meyer had hired Doyle to his first staff with the Jaguars. Speaking with local media on Thursday, Meyer defended the hire.
"I vet everyone on our staff and like I said, the relationship goes back close to 20 years. [There were] a lot of hard questions asked, a lot of vetting involved with all our staff, but we did a very good job vetting that one.
"I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years. Our relationship goes back to when I was at Utah and he was the number one strength coach. Really, he was doing sports performance before sports performance became a high priority in college sports," Meyer said. "I’ve known him. I’ve studied him. We’ve had a relationship. I vetted him thoroughly along with our general manager [Trent Baalke] and owner [Shad Khan]. [We] feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position."
However, the hire was immediately and swiftly met with judgment and confusion from pundits and diversity groups.
Fritz Pollard Alliance, the diversity group which is "comprised of scouts, coaches, and front office personnel in the NFL as well as other sports professionals committed to equal opportunity in the industry" according to the group's website, commented on the hire Friday afternoon.
“At a time when the NFL has failed to solve its problem with racial hiring practices, it is simply unacceptable to welcome Chris Doyle into the ranks of NFL coaches,” the group said in a statement.
“Doyle’s departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure riddled with poor judgment and mistreatment of Black players. His conduct should be as disqualifying for the NFL as it was for University of Iowa. Urban Meyer’s statement, ‘I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years,’ reflects the good ol’ boy network that is precisely the reason there is such a disparity in employment opportunities for Black coaches.”
Even some Jaguars players, like receiver Chris Conley, a member of last year's roster who is currently set to be a free agent, appeared to question the hire on social media.
Conley was an outspoken activist when the team became the first in the NFL to march against social injustice and racism last spring.
Meyer said at the time that Doyle would report to him, while players would primarily interact with the S&C staff. Still, Meyer met with his staff about the inevitable criticism that would come from the hire.
“I met with our staff about it and I’m going to be very transparent with all the players, like I am with everything, and listen closely and learn. There’s going to have to be some trust in their head coach that we’re going to give them the very best of the best," Meyer said.
"The allegations that took place, I will share I vetted him. I know the person for close to 20 years and I can assure them there’ll be nothing of any sort in the Jaguar facility.”
And now, neither will Chris Doyle.