Urban Meyer apologizes to Jacksonville, says he’s ‘heartbroken’ over firing: report

FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer works the sideline during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. In many regards, Meyer runs the Jaguars like a college program Its what he knows even though he spent a year studying the NFL before he ended a brief coaching retirement. Its also worked at every previous stop, so no one is questioning his methods. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File) (Michael Ainsworth, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Urban Meyer spoke publicly for the first time to NFL.com following his firing by owner Shad Khan early Thursday after weeks of Meyer’s mounting public blunders and even more missteps behind the scenes.

Meyer told reporter Ian Rapoport he was disappointed in how his Jacksonville tenure unfolded and apologized to the city.

“I just apologize to Jacksonville,” Meyer said Friday. “I love Jacksonville. It’s one of the reasons I took the job. I still think Shad’s a great owner. It’s heart-breaking. I just had a dream of it becoming a destination place with a new facility he agreed to build and some day to walk into that stadium where it’s standing room only. Because I know how bad the people of Jacksonville want it. So, I’m just heartbroken that we weren’t able to do that. I still believe it’s going to be done. It’s too good of a place.”

Meyer told NFL.com he was “devastated,” denied accusations made against him over the past few weeks and explained why he benched star running back James Robinson. (Read more here)

A spokesman for Khan told The Associated Press on Friday that the decision to move on from Meyer was initially made following Jacksonville’s 20-0 loss at Tennessee on Sunday. A conversation Khan and Meyer had in the locker room after that shutout — Meyer had few answers for the team’s woes or how he planned to fix them — sealed a decision Khan had been mulling for weeks.

Meyer was fired for cause and the team does not intend to pay him for the final four years remaining on his contract, a person familiar with the termination told The Associated Press.

The Jaguars (2-11) host Houston (2-11) on Sunday, with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell serving as interim coach. Bevell got the nod over assistant head coach Charlie Strong because he has previous experience as an NFL head coach; he went 1-4 as Detroit’s interim coach last season.