Urban Meyer: Goal is to make Jacksonville a year-round destination for players

Meyer hints at new facilities to keep players in the area

Urban Meyer: Ready to build a winner in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Urban Meyer sees the potential in Jacksonville. He also sees the need for changes.

Meyer covered a variety of topics Tuesday afternoon as the team prepares for free agency to begin next week.

One area of improvement, Meyer said, is the ability to make Jacksonville a destination, year-round, for players and their families. Meyer didn’t offer specifics, but did hint at a new facility such as a practice, strength and conditioning, and training venue. He brought that up at his initial press conference and mentioned it again last week in a sit down with the team’s in-house media group.

“Well, we call it the culture of excellence. We expect everything to be the best of the best. And right now, it’s not here at Jacksonville. There’s a lot of great things that are. There certain areas that are not. So, my job and my push really hard … especially when you’re talking about health and safety of players, I expect it to be the very best,” Meyer said.

“So, we’re pushing hard and our owner, Shad [Khan], has been fantastic to listen and learn about the way we expect, and he expects the best of the best. So, we’re right in the middle of that conversation.”

That conversation likely isn’t a new stadium at this point, rather facilities in and around TIAA Bank Field.

Team president Mark Lamping said last November that the Jaguars would need upgrades to TIAA Bank Field tied to an extension of the lease agreement, which currently runs through 2030. Meyer thinks that the Jaguars can not only take advantage of the favorable tax situation in Florida (no state income tax), but bolster team facilities here, too.

“I love the city of Jacksonville. I love the state of Florida. The fact that there’s the tax issue which, when you’re in college you didn’t have to. It was recruiting. I never talked about tax issues with recruits. But that’s reality when you start talking about professional football,” Meyer said. “It’s a place you can live very comfortably, 12 months a year and raise a family here. So, I refuse to believe that this cannot become a destination spot for a free agent or for a great player.

“And we need to make sure that everything’s in place to have that player want to be here. And I’m not just talking about from August to December, January. I just, once again, maybe it’s a dream, but that’s a dream I’m going to hold on to, that I just someday, see our players living here, training, get the best training possible and enjoying a life in Jacksonville, Florida.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.