While almost everyone expected Gus Bradley to be fired from his post as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach — he went a miserable 14-48 during his tenure — no one expected it to end in such humiliating fashion.
Bradley was fired by general manager Dave Caldwell as the players were leaving the locker room following their loss to the Houston Texans Sunday, and then made to fly home with the team.
And some of the players, who found out about Bradley’s termination on social media, seemed to be as taken aback by it as he probably was.
“Yeah, that sucked,” said defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks. “If I had an opinion on if I thought that was the right move, I don’t think that was the right way to do it. He had to ride the plane home back that way, but that ain’t my call. They did it. They made the move.
Marks said Bradley did talk to a lot of players on the two-hour flight back to Jacksonville, but according to some, it didn’t make things any less awkward.
“It’s a tough situation, because you love the guy and you know this is it; we’re going home for the last time with him, and then we’re not going to get a chance to have him in the building again,” linebacker Paul Posluszny said.
It’s the latest in a series of bizarre head coach firings.
Last March, Tulane University basketball head coach Ed Conroy was terminated during a game against Houston—before halftime, while the game was actually being played. He explained the debacle to the media:
“…I had two guys behind the bench put their phone up and tell me, ‘Hey coach, you’re gone.’ So that was fun when you’re trying to come back from an eight-point deficit…”
Back in May, Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had to figure out he was being let go through an email notifying him of his flight back to Atlanta from Pittsburgh on a Tuesday afternoon. The series with the Pirates was scheduled to end two days later on a Thursday.
And last month, the Florida Panthers of the NHL ousted head coach Gerard Gallant on the same night as the team’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. But that alone was not the issue. Gallant was photographed soon after taking his own taxi back to the airport.
A CTV News report detailed the scene:
Gallant spoke after the game where Florida wasted an early 2-0 lead…Shortly after that is when he apparently was told of the dismissal, and Gallant then waited for a taxi after his luggage was unloaded from the busses that were to carry the Panthers to the airport.