JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – By now, most Jacksonville Jaguars fans know the Urban Meyer era was a complete disaster filled with embarrassing headlines and even more losses.
But is it possible that it was even worse than we thought? According to a story from The Athletic published on Monday, the answer is yes.
Reporters Jayson Jenks and Mike Sando spoke to multiple sources, including former Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark, who said Meyer was belittling, demeaning, led by fear and created an extremely toxic work environment in the process.
RELATED: Timeline of Urban Meyer’s short tenure in Jacksonville
The story starts with an anecdote recounting the time Meyer was angry after a player missed an assignment during a preseason game. Meyer said if the mistake ever happened again, he would cut everyone.
“And do you know what would happen if I cut you guys?” Meyer said, according to The Athletic who spoke to four people in the room. “You couldn’t get a job paying more than $15 an hour.”
And it only gets worse from there. A veteran member of the football operations staff told the Athletic it was, “The most toxic environment I’ve ever been a part of. By far. Not even close.”
Chark, who spent four seasons with the Jaguars before signing with the Lions last week, told The Athletic Meyer threatened to fire coaches in front of other players.
“He feels like threats are what motivates,” Chark said. “I know he would come up to us and tell us if the receivers weren’t doing good, he wasn’t going to fire us, he was going to fire our coach. He would usually say that when the coach was around.”
“The way he was running the ship, it was impossible to succeed,” Chark said, adding that Trevor Lawrence is a great quarterback but, “he was not put in good positions.”
The reporting lines up with past reports that Meyer called his assistant coaches losers and got into a heated argument with receiver Marvin Jones. Meyer said that he had high expectations for his staff but denied calling them losers. He said the argument with Jones was overblown.
When he first got the job, Meyer said he studied the NFL game after spending his coaching career in the college ranks at Florida, Ohio State and Utah. But multiple sources told The Athletic that Meyer wasn’t familiar with NFL stars like 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel, Seahawks safety Jamal Adams and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, a three-time NFL defensive player of the year.
“Who’s this 99 guy on the Rams?” Meyer asked one staffer during the season, according to a source who spoke to The Athletic. “I’m hearing he might be a problem for us.”
The story goes on to say Meyer didn’t allow players to speak with opponents before games, said the team lost because they “dressed sloppily” and berated a player so harshly that the player cried.
Then, of course, there was the infamous viral video that showed Meyer very close with a young female in his Columbus, Ohio restaurant/bar who was not his wife.
Former Jaguars player Josh Lambo said in a story to the Tampa Bay Times that Meyer kicked him during warmups and called special teams players derogatory names. Meyer denied the report. Hours after that report broke, Khan fired Meyer.
Social media had plenty of reactions to the Meyer story.
I know we’re getting jokes off about Urban Meyer and the Aaron Donald thing (which, fair) but holy smokes this part is offensive as hell https://t.co/iH4a6lWEXE pic.twitter.com/AeXwhvdmTK— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) March 21, 2022
I love hearing about different things that Urban Meyer said and did as an NFL coach. At this point all you can do is laugh at what took place and smile that it’s over.— UCF Jaguar (@UCF_Jaguar) March 21, 2022
Meyer’s attorney said his client would not comment to The Athletic for the story.
Read the entire story on The Athletic.com.