JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Hours after Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio called reports that he is leaving to coach for the University of Southern California "figments of other people's imagination," Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver held a news conference confirming Del Rio will coach the Teal and Black next season.
"I feel that the team of (general manager) Gene Smith and Jack Del Rio is going to take this team to an elite level," Weaver said. "There's things we've got to do a lot better than we have in the past, and I think we're all on the same page and have our sights set on the same goals."
Weaver said he and the coach met for much of the day to discuss the direction of the team.
The LA Daily News reported that the University of Southern California sent Del Rio a contract to sign late Monday night.
The 46-year-old coach played linebacker at USC from 1981 to 1984. He was also a catcher on the baseball team in 1983 and 1984.
As for Weaver and Del Rio discussing that possibility in their meeting, Weaver said, "Didn't even talk about that. I wasn't interested in that. I was interested in if Jack wanted to be here and was committed to this franchise."
As Del Rio arrived at the stadium Tuesday morning, he talked with Channel 4's Nikki Kimbleton about reports he was leaving for USC.
"All of those things are manufactured," Del Rio said early Tuesday. "The only thing I can tell you is I've been busy working on the Jaguars for 2010. We're busy at work, trying to build this thing strong."
Del Rio has three years and $15 million left on his contract with the Jaguars, where he has been head coach since 2003.
Del Rio is 57-55 with the Jaguars and has taken the team to the playoffs twice. The Jaguars' best year under Del Rio was in 2006, when the team finished with a 12-5 record.
But after two losing seasons in a row -- ending 2009 at 7-9 -- some fans were calling for a coaching change.
Weaver was asked about Del Rio's declining popularity among fans.
"I do think that our fans aren't as close to the decision process as I am," he said. "I've got to make sure that I weigh all of those things and don't have a knee-jerk reaction. ... The fans have to have enough trust in me to believe that I'm making the right decision for the franchise."
Over the weekend, amid reports that longtime USC coach Pete Carroll would leave to coach the Seattle Seahawks, Del Rio's name surfaced as a possible new head coach for the Trojans.
Del Rio was reportedly at the Jaguars headquarters until 10 p.m. Monday meeting with the staff and Smith.
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