PALM BEACH, FL – Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said without question he is at peace.
And without question, Khan said when he is asked about the events of the last week he will be able to answer questions honestly. Because of that, he said is moving forward, and he also on Monday afternoon said this much is true, too:
It’s time for those following the Jaguars to do the same.
“I think fans need to move on,” Khan said Monday afternoon at the NFL’s annual Owners Meetings, which are being held this week at The Breakers resort. “It’s very simple. Maybe they love Tim Tebow, but I think Tim Tebow has demonstrated he prefers New York.
“I can look at everybody squarely in the eye and say, ‘You need to move on.’’’
Khan, attending his first league meetings as Jaguars owner, and said it’s his hope his comments will help end the discussion of the team’s efforts to acquire Tebow, efforts that ended last Wednesday when Denver traded the former University of Florida quarterback to the New York Jets.
Khan, who said he had had preliminary conversations with the Broncos before last week, said talks picked up in earnest early last week when the Broncos acquired quarterback Peyton Manning as a free agent.
Khan said he had a strong relationship with and affection for Broncos management from when he was investigating the possibility of buying a franchise, and had told Broncos officials throughout that the Tebow situation was “special.” He said Broncos officials told him they agreed, and that while they had to look out for the team’s best interest, they wanted to do the right thing by Tebow.
Khan said he knew the Jaguars had the best offer in terms of draft-pick and financial compensation to the Broncos, and that the Broncos admitted as much Wednesday afternoon.
At that point, the Broncos allowed Tebow to choose between the Jaguars and Jets. Khan said he learned Wednesday night that Tebow preferred the Jets.
“This is a free country, and he has a right,” Khan said.
Khan said the decision surprised him because of Tebow’s ties with Jacksonville, and because of the passion Jaguars fans have for Tebow.
“The reason it surprises me is because the reason I was involved in this thing is I’ve been in Jacksonville several months, and I’ve never had a discussion with a group where the issue of Tim Tebow didn’t come up,” Khan said.
Khan said numerous prominent people – “a who’s who,” he called it – called during the process to make sure the Jaguars were actively pursuing Tebow.
“It’s good to get that input, but I have to do what’s right for the team,” Khan said.
What’s right for the team, Khan said, is ensuring that players playing for the Jaguars want to be playing for the Jaguars, and in the end, Khan said that wasn’t the case with Tebow.
“I’m happy,” Khan said. “I would be disappointed if he was here and didn’t want to be here. That’s when I would be disappointed, I’m happy for him, and I’m happy for the Jaguars. It’s time to move on.”
The pursuit of Tebow was the headline event in what Khan said has been a productive several weeks for the team, and he said he likes the Jaguars’ moves in free agency in recent weeks. The team not only re-signed core defensive players such as defensive end
“We want to build a winning culture, and really, our culture is not about making a splash,” Khan said. “If you look at a history of who’s made the splash and what happened, you know the results. We want a sustainable winning team.”
In a very real sense, Khan said the Tebow decision defined that approach.
“We want to listen to the fans,” Khan said. “The customer is very important but the customer doesn’t know best all the time. That’s where being the owner, you have to exercise judgment.
“If he had been committed and wanting to be competitive, it would have been a great thing for him and a great thing for us. The key thing is, we need to move on. To me, we’ve closed this chapter. We did everything.”
*Khan said he had thorough discussions with people within the Jaguars’ organization regarding former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ season in Jacksonville, and is satisfied the team did not have a bounty program during his tenure. Williams was suspended indefinitely last week by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for having a bounty program in place while with the Saints. “There’s nothing even remotely like that,” Khan said.
*Khan said he has been fascinated this week by the workings of the NFL during his first official league meetings. “It’s like you’re standing outside looking in,” Khan said. “You don’t understand absolutely what the mechanisms are. It’s like looking at a watch. You see what time it is, then you open it up and see all the mechanical movements.” Khan, who recently attended the NFL’s committee meetings in Sarasota, said he was particularly impressed with the emphasis Monday in the meetings on the integrity of the sport and healthy and safety – and in particular, with Goodell. “The more I see Roger Goodell in action, the more impressive he is,” Khan said.