Jaguars Rumors: Byron Leftwich to Withdraw from HC Talks; Bisaccia, Pederson in Mix

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 3, 2022

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 23: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich before the NFC Divisional playoff game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 23, 2022, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , FL. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is reportedly withdrawing his name from consideration for the Jacksonville Jaguars' head coaching position.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported former Las Vegas Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia and former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson have emerged as strong contenders.

Leftwich was once considered the overwhelming favorite to leave Tampa for Jacksonville, returning to the franchise that drafted him No. 7 overall in 2003.

The fallout between the two sides seemingly centers on the presence of general manager Trent Baalke. John Reid of the Florida Times-Union reported Leftwich told Jaguars ownership he preferred to not work with Baalke and wanted them to hire Arizona Cardinals vice president of pro scouting Adrian Wilson as general manager.

Wilson and Leftwich have a relationship dating back to the latter's tenure as an assistant coach in Arizona in 2017 and 2018.

Baalke's presence has in essence turned the Jaguars' coaching search into a complete mess. Bisaccia was not on their initial round of interviews, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the team wants to speak with Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell but can't until after the Super Bowl because he wasn't on their first list of candidates, either.

Pederson was the Jaguars' first interview for the coaching position in December and didn't get a second interview for more than a month. He could wind up getting the job as a result of being the only candidate remaining—albeit one the Jaguars clearly weren't particularly high on early in the process.

Jaguars fans have been revolting against Baalke's continued employment almost since the second Urban Meyer was fired as head coach 13 games into the season. Fans arrived at the season's final home game in full clown regalia, and one fan clamored for Baalke's dismissal over the stadium speakers.

Baalke has been with the Jaguars since 2020 and arrived in Jacksonville with a poor reputation after having a falling out with Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco. A power struggle between Baalke and Harbaugh led to the coach leaving the NFL for Michigan and the 49ers going through a retooling period amid a series of poor decisions made by Baalke after Harbaugh's departure.