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Florida WR Coach Joker Phillips Resigns for 'Personal Reasons'

The Gators assistant is gone less than three months before the regular season begins, and there seems to be no specific reason why he's leaving

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Something strange appears to be happening at Florida. Either that, or Joker Phillips had a personal emergency that required him to abandon his job less than three months before the beginning of the season. We'll leave it to you to decide which of those scenarios is more likely.

Florida announced today that Phillips, the team's wide receivers coach, had resigned. Why?

"I'm thankful for the opportunity that the University of Florida and Will Muschamp provided to me and my family, but at this time I have decided to step down from my position on the UF coaching staff for personal reasons," Phillips said.

We should be clear here that "personal reasons" is not always code for "a pending major news story detailing a scandal and / or something that has attracted the attention of law enforcement or the NCAA" or a blow-up between the position coach and someone higher up the food chain. But if often is. And when it comes this close to the first game of the year, the first assumption most people have is that you're trying to get out of town before some posse arrives.

Adding to the intrigue:

Assuming that's the case, and there's no reason right now to assume it's not the case (at least in regards to the morning session), that would add some weight to he idea that something happened. What is anyone's guess.

As for a replacement, Florida's already got one in Chris Leak. Yes, that Chris Leak, the starting quarterback for the 2006 national championship team whose main job was to get the ball to the 5-yard line so Tim Tebow could score. Leak always struck me as a quarterback with a great arm who had moments of brilliance and moments of ... not brilliance. Now he gets to try his hand at being a wideout guru.

But the questions about Phillips' departure will linger, at least in the short term. In the long term, the move that Florida made today will be judged based on the results on the field -- regardless of what prompted Phillips to leave.