JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The disastrous tenure of Urban Meyer has come to an end in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars fired the embattled first-year head coach early Thursday morning after another embarrassing story about Meyer went viral.
Meyer’s adjustment to the NFL never got off the ground and now owner Shad Khan is left facing another coaching overhaul and wasting a year of rookie Trevor Lawrence’s development.
In a statement, Khan said it was time to move on from Meyer. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as Jacksonville’s interim head coach.
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“After deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban’s tenure with our team, I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone. I informed Urban of the change this evening. As I stated in October, regaining our trust and respect was essential. Regrettably, it did not happen,” Khan said.
“Trent Baalke continues as our general manager and will work with Darrell to ensure that our team will be inspired and competitive while representing Jacksonville proudly over our final four games of the season. In the spirit of closure and recharging our players, staff and fan base, I will not comment further until some point following the conclusion of the NFL season.”
Meyer’s tenure was filled with one public relations fiasco after another, from a viral bar video to an inability to give basic answers about his own players and playing time decisions.
It didn’t help that the Jaguars weren’t winning games (2-11) and remain on pace to finish with the lowest point total in the franchise’s 27-year history. Lawrence has regressed and there’s been numerous reports of infighting between Meyer and his staff. The team suffered its first shutout loss since 2009 last Sunday to the Titans.
Meyer was a huge-risk, high-reward hire last January for Khan, who boldly declared about his coach after the draft, “this time I got it right.”
Instead, it went about as wrong as it could have possibly gone for Khan, who just celebrated his 10 years as Jaguars owner. Khan has been about as patient of an NFL owner as there’s ever been. Cutting ties so quickly on Meyer showcases just how bad of a fit he was for the franchise.
Meyer came to the Jaguars with numerous red flags. He was a self-described coaching maniac who let winning games get in the way of handling things the right way.
Meyer’s time at Florida was littered with player arrests (31 Gators, according to numerous reports, were arrested for a variety of crimes under his watch). At Ohio State, Meyer drew a three-game suspension for his handling of assistant Zach Smith and domestic abuse allegations in 2015.
The NFL life was far different than college, and Meyer’s ways rubbed professional players the wrong way on numerous occasions.
It began in the offseason with his controversial hire of disgraced ex-Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle and continued right up to the very end.
After a story on Wednesday night by the Tampa Bay Times came out about Meyer allegedly kicking former Jaguars player Josh Lambo during a preseason game warm-up, it became only a matter of time before Khan had to act.
In between, Meyer was caught on video in his Columbus, Ohio restaurant/bar with his hand on a young woman’s backside who was not his wife, Shelley. That incident went viral and drew a rare public rebuke from Khan about Meyer having to regain trust.
By that time, it was largely gone.
Numerous reports throughout the season from media outlets like CBS Sports and NFL.com cited sources in Jacksonville who said that Meyer had already worn out his welcome in town.
After the bar incident, things snowballed the rest of Meyer’s time in Jacksonville. The NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reported last week that Meyer verbally teed off on his assistants, deeming them losers because they didn’t have his level of success. Meyer strongly denied that he called his staff losers, but did say that he demanded the most from them.
Publicly, Meyer came across disconnected from NFL life, unable to answer even basic questions at times about what was going on with the Jaguars.
His college credentials remain undisputed.
Meyer was a combined 187-32 in his college coaching career in stops at Florida, Ohio State, Bowling Green and Utah. He won three national championships, two at Florida and one at Ohio State.
But as so many successful college coaches have found out, life isn’t the same in the NFL.