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Former Jaguars EVP of football operations Tom Coughlin advising Matt Rhule of Carolina Panthers

Kansas City Chiefs v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Former Jacksonville Jaguars executive vice president of football operations and head coach Tom Coughlin has found a new gig within the NFL, as reports that Coughlin will advise new Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule as he transitions into the professional football ranks.

Rhule was hired by the Panthers last week. He signed an unprecedented deal for a first time NFL head coach, agreeing to a seven-year contract worth $62 million, with a $2.5 million signing bonus and additional bonus incentives if certain goals are met. Rhule last led Baylor University from 2017 through 2019, taking the team from 1-11 in his first year, to 11-3 in his last year at the school.

As for Couglin’s relationship with Rhule, the two worked together in 2012 with the New York Giants. Coughlin was the team’s head coach, and Rhule worked under him as an assistant offensive line coach for one season before taking the head coaching job at Temple University.

The 2012 stint as an assistant coach in in New York is Rhule’s only NFL experience. He is leaning on Coughlin for advice and how to best navigate his transition into the NFL. Say what you want about Coughlin, but he is a veteran of the NFL and is somebody that Rhule trusts and can learn from. Rhule recently praised Coughlin and spoke about how his time in New York made him a better college coach.

Rhule recently had this to say about Coughlin’s influence on Ian Rapoport’s “RapSheet and Friends” podcast:

“Yeah, I think I took a lot,” Rhule said. “I think what was really key is that year was right before I was head coach. And so as I went to be head coach at Temple, I tried to apply all the things that I had learned from Tom. I thought coach Coughlin was amazing at his ability to get his message across to the entire team by visiting with one guy at a time. We had some personalities, some great players on that team: Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw. I thought Tom did a great job of going to those guys and understanding that they were probably influencers on the team and making sure the message was getting out there.

”As I went back to college, I didn’t really go back just purely as a college coach, I went back there sort of with this NFL mindset. I’ve tried to grow it and develop it each year. So as I come back now to the NFL, I’m certainly coming from college, but I think my way of doing things is very much in line with being an NFL head coach.”

Before we knew how the team would move forward in 2020, and since Rhule and Coughlin had a strong and established relationship, there was a lot of hope amongst the Jaguars fanbase — myself included — that Rhule would be Jacksonville’s next coach. Of course, incumbent head coach Doug Marrone was retained and Coughlin was fired, so that dream faded quickly. However, many fans wanted Coughlin ousted, anyway.

Coughlin was fired from his role of EVP of football operations in December, ahead of Jacksonville’s Week 16 game against the Atlanta Falcons. This came after news broke from the NFLPA that, astoundingly, approximately 25 percent of all player grievances across the NFL were filed against the Jaguars.

Coughlin was hired into the EVP role in the 2017 offseason. Of course, he was also the first head coach in franchise history, leading the Jaguars from 1995 until 2002. The Jaguars do not plan to fill the EVP role for the 2020 season, and Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell will report directly to owner Shad Khan.