Harris leaving Jaguars’ front office

One week after Kansas City shook up its front office, Jacksonville did the same Tuesday.

James “Shack” Harris, the Jaguars’ longtime vice president/player personnel, resigned effective at the end of the regular season. Replacing Harris will be Gene Smith, currently the Jaguars’ executive director/college and pro personnel.

“I want to thank Shack for his contributions and his hard work in helping us rebuild this team,” Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said in an announcement. “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.”

Harris, who played quarterback from 1969-81 before embarking on a scouting career in 1987, has been a role model for front office men around the league who sought him out for advice. Yet he and the Jaguars had come to a crossroads and the two sides decided to go their separate ways.

“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.

“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.”

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