JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey responded to the firing of GM Gene Smith Monday.
Mularkey says he had a lot of respect for Smith and for the way he ran things.
"He knows I've had a lot of respect for him both professionally and personally," said Mularkey. "And I want him to know I'm thinking about him and his family, Debbie and the girls, and I appreciate everything he did for this organization, for this staff and for these players."
Following reports over the weekend, Jaguars owner Shad Khan announced Smith's departure this morning. The Jaguars will honor the final two years of his contract. Khan will not make a statement until a new General Manager is hired.
"I met with Gene Smith this morning to inform him of my decision to go in a new direction and thank him for his dedication to the Jaguars since the inception of the franchise," Khan said. "I am personally appreciative for his efforts during my first season of ownership in the NFL. Gene is a good man with a long career ahead of him in football, and I know this season was as difficult for him as anyone with our organization. I sincerely wish Gene and his family the very best, today and always."
The Jaguars owner met with Mularkey this morning about Gene Smith. Mularkey would only say his future with the team was not brought up.
"Until I'm told otherwise, I'm the head coach of this team," said Mularkey.
The Jaguars finished 2-14 this year. It was the worst year in franchise history.
"You can't change what took place this season, all we can do is get prepared for the next one and learn from this one and I think our guys will do that," Mularkey said.
The team is set to get the 2nd pick in the NFL draft.
Mularkey said he's going full-speed ahead into the off-season. He plans to meet with players and position coaches for their evaluations starting today.