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Del Rio 'disappointed' Jags didn't deliver on Weaver's ultimatum

  • By NFL.com
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Jack Del Rio never bought into the idea that this would be his last season as coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Not when the team switched to rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Not when they lost five consecutive games. Not even Tuesday, when owner Wayne Weaver fired him after eight-plus seasons.

"I never gave into that," Del Rio told WJXT-TV when asked if his firing was inevitable.

"There was certainly plenty of that kind of speculation," Del Rio added. "Any time an owner makes a statement like, 'You better be in the playoffs or else,' and then you end up starting the year the way we started, the reality is it was tough.

"But we never gave in to that, the players never gave in to that. I think when you look at the way the team is fighting, competing, you really should be proud of that. No one likes to lose."

That includes Weaver, who announced the firing of Del Rio and the sale of the team in one swoop. Del Rio found out about the sale during the interview with the television station, calling it "shocking."

Del Rio started the season under an ultimatum from Weaver that the Jaguars had to make the playoffs to save his job.

"I understood going into the year the desire Mr. Weaver had in terms of us being a playoff team," said Del Rio, who went 68-71 as the Jaguars' coach. "We're clearly not going to be a playoff team. I'm disappointed we're not going to be able to deliver on that desire."

As the Jaguars continued to lose, Del Rio said it "was not even close" that he lost the locker room. He said he addressed the team after finding out about his firing Tuesday morning.

"I told them they need to continue to do the right things," Del Rio said. "That even when it didn't feel good, even it when it doesn't go the way you like, fight for what's right, there's something worthwhile there.

"Having the courage to stay strong when things are tough, it speaks to your character. I encouraged them to continue, because they've been doing that for me."

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