New NFL Jaguars coach defends assistant over racism claims

Miami (AFP) –


New Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer defended his NFL team's new sports performance director, former college strength coach Chris Doyle, from claims of bulling and racism on Thursday.

Meyer, whose team owns the top pick in this year's NFL Draft, finalized his coaching staff with selections that included Doyle, who was conditioning coach at the University of Iowa from 1999 until last year.

He departed after accusations of mistreatment and racist language from former players.

Meyer said he was "very confident" the Jaguars will have no issues with Doyle, whom he worked with at the University of Utah in 1998, and that he does not believe any accusations attached to Doyle will hurt the team's ability to attract top free agent talent.

"I've known Chris for close to 20 years," Meyer said. "He was doing sports performance before sports performance became a high priority in college sports. 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, a Pakistani-born American billionaire).

"Feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position. Sports performance is going to be a high, high priority... from strength training room, physical therapy, sports psychology, and nutrition all falls under the sports performance team umbrella. And I wanted to get the best of the best."

Meyer said there were "a lot of hard questions asked" and "We did a very good job vetting" the staff choices.