Urban Meyer reflects on Trevor Lawrence, time with Jaguars and how ‘it didn’t go well’

FILE - Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer stands on the sideline during the final minutes of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. Urban Meyer's tumultuous NFL tenure ended after just 13 games and two victories when the Jacksonville Jaguars fired him early Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021 because of an accumulation of missteps.(AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File) (Gary Mccullough, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Urban Meyer opened up on his failed time in Jacksonville and raved about the NFL future of his one-time quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Meyer, speaking on the All Things Covered podcast with Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden, mainly talked college football with the hosts before being asked about his horrific transition to the NFL. The former Utah, Florida and Ohio State head coach lasted just 13 games with the Jaguars before he was fired on Dec. 16, 2021.

Meyer, 58, told Peterson and McFadden that he doesn’t see himself getting back into coaching.

“No desire,” he said. “And of course, I think I’d do some things differently [with the Jaguars]. I was excited to see because they have a lot of different players than when I was there. They did a really good job in free agency this year.”

Meyer said that he was finished coaching when NFL teams started contacting him about a job in the league.

“I was done. I was retired. I had some health issues at Ohio State ... 55 [years old] was always my target [to stop coaching]. My family deserved that, we worked so hard for 38 years … I said I had some friends that unfortunately had some real serious health issues,” Meyer said. “I said, ‘I’m not doing this. I’m going to get out of the game. And I had it all planned out.”

That plan was to stay involved in television and enjoy family time. But the tug of coaching Lawrence and giving the NFL a try pulled Meyer into a situation that he clearly wasn’t prepared for. Owner Shad Khan hired Meyer to try and turn the Jaguars around after a 1-15 season in 2020. Khan had been fascinated with Meyer and finally coaxed him into coming out of retirement.

“… And then I got approached by a few (NFL) teams and this team really appealed to me,” Meyer said on the podcast. “Trevor Lawrence, who might be a Hall of Famer some day, he’s that good. Obviously, it didn’t go well, but I had no plans on doing that at all. It just happened.”

Meyer hasn’t spoken publicly often on his failed time in Jacksonville. He talked to the NFL Network several days after his firing, saying he was “devastated” and “heartbroken” over how his tenure ended.

The Jaguars went on to hire Doug Pederson and completed just the third worst-to-first turnaround (No. 1 draft pick to division champs) since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Jacksonville went 9-8 in the regular season, won the AFC South and then stunned the Chargers 31-30 in the wild-card playoffs. Pederson is a finalist for the NFL Coach of the Year award and already won the AFC Coach of the Year by the 101 Awards.

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.