Jaguars’ Khan sees ‘hope, optimism’ after years of failure

FILE - This file  Sept. 24, 2017 file photo shows Shad Khan at Wembley Stadium in London.  The Jacksonville Jaguars will play two home games in London next season, strengthening the franchises foothold in an overseas market the NFL is eager to expand. The Jaguars will play back-to-back games at historic Wembley Stadium, giving them a potential home-field advantage in the second one since they wont have to travel that week. Specific dates were not announced.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE)
FILE - This file Sept. 24, 2017 file photo shows Shad Khan at Wembley Stadium in London. The Jacksonville Jaguars will play two home games in London next season, strengthening the franchises foothold in an overseas market the NFL is eager to expand. The Jaguars will play back-to-back games at historic Wembley Stadium, giving them a potential home-field advantage in the second one since they wont have to travel that week. Specific dates were not announced.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE) (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

It’s easy to see owner Shad Khan’s excitement and enthusiasm for the Jacksonville Jaguars these days. He’s smiling, cracking jokes, taking subtle shots at his previous coach/general manager regime.

It’s undoubtedly one of the best weeks of his 10-year tenure, right up there with playing in the AFC championship game in January 2018.

“It’s unbelievable,” Khan said Tuesday, two days before Jacksonville is set to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first pick in the NFL draft. “If this isn’t a moment to enjoy for me and for all the Jags fans, you need more coffee or you need something else. This is a great-to-be-alive kind of moment, frankly.”

Khan is downright giddy knowing the Jaguars will land Lawrence, widely considered the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012. Khan was a wide-eyed NFL owner back then, with little more than a notion about how the league worked.

He’s since learned enough that he kept coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell in place an extra year in 2020 to have them clean up their mess. That decision, which came shortly after Khan fired top executive Tom Coughlin, was the moment he felt he was “ready to take the training wheels off.”

He hired Urban Meyer to replace them, bringing in one of the most decorated coaches in college football history and giving him full reign to change anything and everything he wants within the organization.

“Nine years ago, buying the team, it was like the great journey, the first step on a 1,000-mile journey and looking to the horizon,” Khan said. “And what it is now? We’ve been through ups and downs, mostly downs, and now you’re looking at a great upside.”

Although Khan declined to tip the obvious top pick, he didn’t balk at or even try to deflect any questions that mentioned Lawrence by name or alluded to him as the choice.