As Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has proven time and time again, it’s hard out here for a Black man trying to become an NFL head coach. And even once you miraculously reach the promised land—no thanks to the league’s Rooney Rule, which only serves to taunt and further humiliate qualified Black candidates—it’s still an uphill battle—as evidenced by the unjust dismissals of David Culley (who was recently fired as head coach of the Houston Texans) and Brian Flores (who suffered a similar fate in Miami).
That being said, after serving as the mastermind behind Tom Brady’s reign of terror the past two seasons, Tampa Bay Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is a hot name among potential head coaching candidates. So much so that he was reportedly finalizing a deal to save the Jacksonville Jaguars from themselves, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
“Hearing there are some items left to clear up contractually but both Byron Leftwich and Jacksonville are trying to finalize an agreement to make him the Jaguars next head coach,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
That is until they weren’t.
Negotiations can be a long, drawn-out process, and apparently, things aren’t going very well, since the Jags are now entertaining other candidates for the position.
From Pro Football Network:
The Jacksonville Jaguars have scheduled a second interview with Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett for Thursday, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly. The development, along with potentially holding more second interviews with head coaching candidates, comes after the Jaguars launched contract talks with Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich Tuesday night before discussions became complicated Wednesday morning and momentum toward an anticipated deal stalled.
And as if this telenovela didn’t have enough twists and turns, my beloved Denver Broncos killed any chance of the Jags stealing away Hackett in the middle of the night by offering the 42-year-old the keys to their franchise on Thursday morning, per NFL insider Adam Schefter.
“Once Nathaniel Hackett was scheduled to interview with the Jaguars today, the Broncos stepped in last night to get a deal done to prevent him from going to Jacksonville,” he tweeted. “Jaguars still considering Byron Leftwich and Matt Eberflus, a finalist for the Bears job.”
Ummm, so yeah.
Will Leftwich become the first Black head coach in the history of the franchise? That remains to be seen. But for his sake, I hope he’s put in a position to thrive with whichever franchise recognizes his talent.