NFL star blasts legendary coach, executive Tom Coughlin

Tom Coughlin’s final stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars ended on an ugly note, culminating in him being fired. Now, a former player and one of the NFL’s biggest stars is shedding light on what went wrong in Jacksonville.

Coughlin first joined the Jaguars in 1995, becoming the franchise’s head coach and quickly finding success. Following a 4-12 season in 1995, the team made the playoffs four consecutive years and reached the AFC Championship Game twice.

When Coughlin’s Jaguars went 6-10 in each of his final two years, he was fired following the 2002 season. The legendary NFL coach was hired by the New York Giants in 2004, winning two Super Bowls and posting a 102-90 record.

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He later found his way back to Jacksonville in 2017, becoming the team’s executive vice president of football operations. Jalen Ramsey was just becoming one of the NFL’s biggest stars at the time and shared on Aqib Talib’s podcast why Coughlin became so disliked in the locker room.

“To be honest, we didn’t like Tom Coughlin. That’s what it came down to. That was his first year in there and we were a sorry team the year before. We went from having a relaxed coaching staff that let us be adults, but we were too young for that at the time. We were too young a team to know how to really treat that.

Los Angeles Rams CB Jalen Ramsey on experience with Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville. via Catchin Fades podcast

Coughlin wanted to do things his way, installing a level of strict discipline and rules that bothered players. As Ramsey described, the things he didn’t went beyond the normal treatment of professional athletes with policies that even put restrictions on what players wore.

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“When they brought in Tom Coughlin, he was, he went the complete opposite of that…it turned into, we didn’t feel like half the stuff he was trying to implement was even about football, you know I mean, ‘you got to wear white socks.’ Like, ‘coach it don’t matter if I wear white socks or black socks, the receiver gonna get shut down regardless.” 

Jalen Ramsey on changes Tom Coughlin made in Jacksonville

Ramsey and Coughlin have a history. When the All-Pro cornerback didn’t arrive for the start of voluntary workouts, Coughlin indirectly called Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith out publicly.

Coughlin may have also played a role in the star corner asking for a trade. Ramsey shared that he requested a meeting with team brass in 2019 to address some issues and when “disrespectful things” were said to him, Ramsey wanted out and called his agent.

The NFL Players Association previously took issue with Coughlin, warning players to avoid signing in Jacksonville de to excessive fines and player grievances. Following the warning, the Jaguars fired Coughlin on Dec. 18, 2019.