Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Musgrave Hasn't Run Away from Issue of Walkout

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Musgrave Hasn't Run Away from Issue of Walkout

Article excerpt

Byline: Bart Hubbuch, Times-Union sports writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bill Musgrave walked out on the Carolina Panthers three years ago.

To his credit, the Jaguars' new offensive coordinator now refuses to walk away from the blame.

"What I did will be a topic for as long as I continue to work in this profession, and I can accept that," Musgrave said Thursday. "It was a bad mistake on my part, one that is going to take me a long time to overcome."

What Musgrave freely admits was the wrong thing to do was his heat-of-the-moment decision to quit on then-coach George Seifert as the Panthers' offensive coordinator just four games into the 2000 season.

Musgrave was so instantly criticized in the North Carolina media -- one outlet labeled him "a quitter" and compared him in print to a crying baby -- that he sometimes wondered if he would ever work in the NFL again.

Jack Del Rio immediately answered that concern when he was named Jaguars coach in January. Del Rio plucked Musgrave, 35, away from the University of Virginia. But Musgrave knew the subject of his professional low point wasn't going to go away the moment the Jaguars' schedule was released two months later.

At the very top, much to his chagrin, was today's opener against the Panthers at Ericsson Stadium.

But unlike what he did to Seifert three years ago, Musgrave didn't storm off or scurry from reporters last week. That's why, even though Musgrave's version of the West Coast offense hasn't scored any touchdowns for the Jaguars yet, his stand-up ways on this most sensitive of personal topics would seem to earn him numerous points in the court of public opinion.

The soft-spoken Musgrave answered every painful question and, without fail, pointed the finger at himself. "I made a mistake thinking that quitting was the best solution at the time," he said. "Almost immediately after it happened, I realized it wasn't the time to enact such a solution. I wouldn't think George would ever forgive me for making such a bad mistake, nor would I expect him to. …

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