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Del Rio is a done deal


Jack Del Rio is under contract and quarterback David Garrard isn't far behind.

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver told reporters at Thursday's press conference that Del Rio has received a five-year contract extension to remain the team's head coach, through 2012, and then added that Garrard can be expected to agree to a new contract soon.

"I think you can expect something on the quarterback. I think it'll be sooner than later," Weaver said.

Thus continues a whirlwind few months that has seen the Jaguars win their first playoff game in eight years, rise to the ranks of favorite to play in next year's Super Bowl and, now, cement the team's future at its two most high-profile positions: coach and quarterback.

"We believe the arrow is up and we should be able to compete at the very highest level this year," Weaver said when asked specifically if the team expects to be a Super Bowl contender in 2008.

"The key is to build a strong team that can get into the playoffs on a yearly basis," said Del Rio, who took over a team with a combined salary cap and roster problem in 2003 and has guided it to a playoffs berth twice in the last three seasons.

The Jaguars rank sixth in the NFL since 2004 with a 40-24 record and have posted four consecutive non-losing seasons, but the Jaguars have never won the AFC South and that is goal number one for the '08 season.

"I truly believe we can do that," Weaver said.

Del Rio authored a proposal at this week's league meetings to change the procedure for seeding playoff teams. The Jaguars proposed that division winners not be granted an automatic home game and that all playoff teams be seeded strictly according to record. The proposal was defeated before it could come to a vote.

"I wanted Indianapolis to have something to look forward to next year," Del Rio joked.

Weaver complimented himself for having hired Del Rio in 2003, despite Del Rio's one-year-only experience as a coordinator. Del Rio didn't enter the hiring process until the late stages, when Del Rio's former head coach in Dallas, Jimmy Johnson, recommended that Weaver consider Del Rio for the job.

"It was apparent to me very quickly that this was someone who would do a great job. I guess I'll take some credit," said Weaver, who also hired reigning Super Bowl-champion coach Tom Coughlin as the team's first-ever head coach.

"I look forward to building on what we've begun. I really do believe there is something special going on in Jacksonville … ultimately bring a world championship to Jacksonville," Del Rio said.

Weaver cited the attitude Del Rio has built within the team. "They really do believe they can win," Weaver said.

"An unselfish team approach is something I believe in," Del Rio added.

On a more sobering note, Weaver and Del Rio used the media gathering to provide the team's position on cornerback Brian Williams' DUI arrest and alleged comments he made to officers.

"We don't condone racial slurs. It's not something we condone or tolerate in this organization. It's a he said he said right now," Weaver said. "Brian has assured me that he has a different version," Del Rio said. "He has the legal right to pursue what he's doing. He basically stated that he did not make comments like that."

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