Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver announced today that James Harris, the team's vice president/player personnel since 2003, has resigned effective at the end of the regular season. Harris, a veteran of more than 30 years in the NFL, is known throughout the league as "Shack." Weaver today promoted Gene Smith to the position of vice president/player personnel.
"I want to thank Shack for his contributions and his hard work in helping us rebuild this team," Weaver said. "When he and Jack Del Rio joined us six years ago we were coming off three straight losing seasons, and Shack helped build a strong roster that returned us to the playoffs. Though this season has not been what we all hoped for, there have been many great moments over the last six years. I want to wish Shack all the best in the coming year and beyond."
One of the first black players to be drafted by the NFL as a quarterback, Harris played 12 seasons in the league from 1969-81 before embarking on a scouting career in 1987.
"I want to thank Mr. Weaver for the opportunity he gave me and for the support he always showed," Harris said. "I also want to thank the personnel staff. They are one of the best staffs in the league and have done a good job. Thank you also to the players and coaches, football operations and the entire organization for everything they've done. I wish the team well and I wish them success."
Smith, 44, has served in several roles in the Jaguars' personnel department since 1994. One of 15 current staff members who joined the organization in its first year, Smith came to Jacksonville as the team's scouting representative for the BLESTO scouting organization. He became a Jaguars college scout in 1996, and was promoted in 2000 to director of college scouting. Last January, Smith was promoted to the position of executive director/college and pro personnel.
"Gene Smith has been with us since the inception of this franchise, and he has steadily been groomed for this kind of responsibility," Weaver said. "I'm excited about Gene taking on this role and helping us develop and grow our roster to compete at the highest level in this league. He has established himself and worked tirelessly in his profession, and Gene is very much deserving of this promotion."
"Shack and I have known each other and worked together for a long time, and I'm sorry to see him leave the Jaguars," head coach Jack Del Rio said. "I respect Shack, as do many people in the league, and I appreciate his hard work and his efforts to help us build a winner here in Jacksonville.
"I also have great respect for Gene Smith and the job he does," Del Rio added. "I congratulate Gene and I look forward to working closely with him in his new role."