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Jacksonville Jaguars Fire Head Coach Urban Meyer After Kicking Controversy

The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired head coach Urban Meyer just eight months into his tenure, finally bringing an end to what was one of the rockiest and most bizarre NFL coaching debuts in recent memory.

The final straw for Meyer came Wednesday, when former Jacksonville kicker Josh Lambo claimed that during a practice in August, Meyer came over, kicked him in the leg, and told him, “Hey, dip—-, make your f—ing kicks!” Lambo told Meyer to not “ever f—ing kick me again,” to which Meyer replied, “I’m the head ball coach, I’ll kick you whenever the f— I want.”

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Lambo added that later on, Meyer approached him and told him that if the kicker ever spoke to him like that again, he would be gone. In response to the accusation, Meyer stated it was “completely inaccurate,” and that Lambo never brought the situation up in any meetings they had.

“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,” team owner Shad Khan said in a statement Thursday.

“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.”

According to Khan, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will become the interim head coach, while general manager Trent Baalke will continue to operate in the position. It’s the second year in a row that Bevell will act as an interim HC – he took over the role in Week 13 for the Detroit Lions in 2020, finishing with a 1-4 record.

Meyer, a three-time college football champion, finishes his time in Jacksonville with a 2-11 record, tied for last place in the AFC South with the Houston Texans. The team currently ranks last in the NFL in points and 30th in offensive yardage.

Meyer’s reign was tumultuous from the start. Just days after his hiring, he hired former Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, who was accused of making racist comments and bullying while with the Hawkeyes. Doyle quickly resigned after criticism arose.

The following months would bring more controversies. Meyer’s drafting raised some questions – despite undrafted rookie James Robinson rushing for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns in 2020, the team picked RB Travis Etienne with the second of their two first-round picks.

Meyer then brought aboard former quarterback Tim Tebow to play tight end — a position he’s never played before — while making first overall draft pick QB Trevor Lawrence split first-team reps with Gardner Minshew, despite Lawrence obviously having the starting role well in hand. Minshew was later traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Meyer’s activities during training camp and the preseason prompted NFL actions. Meyer was fined $100,000 for excessive contact, while the NFLPA launched an investigation after Meyer stated he and Baalke included a player’s vaccination status in their considerations during final roster cuts.

It didn’t get much better during the season. The team often looked unprepared and outmatched, with numerous key players showing little to no improvement in their play. A day after a loss that dropped them to 0-4, Meyer was spotted at his restaurant in Ohio, with a young woman who wasn’t his wife. Despite the incident, team owner Shad Khan continued to stand by the head coach.

Throughout the process, the locker room became more and more alienated. Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. had to be convinced to return to the Jaguar’s facility after Meyer’s criticism of the wide receivers. Jones Jr. and Meyer reportedly had a heated exchange following Jones Jr.’s return.

According to NFL Network, Meyer also went after his coaching staff — handpicked by himself — calling them “losers” and questioning their résumés. After Sunday’s 20-0 loss to the Tennessee Titans — only the fourth shutout in team history — Meyer said that claim wasn’t true and although Jones Jr. met with him, their conversation wasn’t heated.

Jacksonville will now look to end the season on a positive, less drama-filled note. The Jaguars could also get a head start on the search for a new head coach, as NFL owners approved a rule change on Wednesday that allows teams to start interviewing candidates two weeks before the end of the regular season.

Urban Meyer Continues Apologies For Scandalous Footage As Situation Reaches “Crisis Point”

Following the footage and photos of Urban Meyer getting very intimate with a young woman — who wasn’t his wife — at his restaurant in Ohio on Friday, the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach has continued to apologize in his attempts to mend the relationship between him, the locker room, and the fans.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Meyer addressed his team Wednesday morning to “express remorse and responsibility for his actions over the weekend.” NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala gave additional details, reporting that Meyer said he only cares about two things: his family (specifically his wife, Shelly) and his players, and that he “embarrassed them both.”

Meyer previously stated on Monday that it his actions were “just stupid” and that he “should not have put himself in that kind of position.”

However, according to some insiders, the attempts may be too little, too late. Sports Illustrated’s Mike Silver tweeted Tuesday that the situation has reached a “crisis point,” with one Jaguars player suggesting that Meyer has lost all credibility.

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Silver reported that Jaguars players were bothered by Meyer’s cancellation of a team meeting Monday, instead opting to meet and apologize with “position groups individually.” Players also felt that he “was too scared.”

Players additionally claim that Meyer tried to portray the situation in a different and incorrect angle by saying the woman was “random” and just dancing there, which the team laughed about afterwards.

One player didn’t mince words: “It’s bad. I don’t know how he’s gonna function.”

Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan released a statement on Tuesday regarding his head coach’s actions, noting that while he believes Meyer will have to regain both his and the team’s trust, he believes that Meyer’s apologies are genuine.

“I have addressed this matter with Urban. Specifics of our conversation will be held in confidence. What I will say is his conduct last weekend was inexcusable. I appreciate Urban’s remorse, which I believe is sincere. Now, he must regain our trust and respect. That will require a personal commitment from Urban to everyone who supports, represents or plays for our team. I am confident he will deliver.”

This scandal comes at a pivotal time in the season for both Meyer and Jacksonville. A day prior to Meyer’s incident, the Jaguars suffered a 24-21 defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals. That loss dropped them to 0-4 on the season, which has only fueled arguments that Meyer isn’t committed enough to Jacksonville.

Meyer’s tenure with Jacksonville has been tumultuous from the start. As detailed by Pro Football Focus’ Ari Meirov, Meyer faced fierce criticism for his comments and strategies during the NFL draft. Meyer also hired Chris Doyle, who was accused of bullying and making racist remarks during his time at Iowa University, as Jacksonville’s director of sports performance. Doyle later resigned following the inevitable backlash.

Meyer’s approach to training camp was heavily questioned, as he had quarterbacks Gardner Minshew and Trevor Lawrence (the first-overall pick in the 2021 draft) split important first-team reps despite the obvious fact that Lawrence would be starting. Minshew was later traded, creating even more confusion about Meyer’s methods.

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Lastly, Meyer openly told reporters that the Jaguars cut players based on vaccine status, which the NFL Players Association opened an investigation on.

As the past indicates, many NFL head coaches who have primarily coached in college tend to be much more flighty than most. Nick Sabin and Bobby Petino are two prime examples, and many believe that Meyer could be the next, especially now that USC’s head coaching spot has opened up.

Regardless of where Meyer goes, it’s hard to imagine his reputation not being dealt heavy damage. Jacksonville will look to get their first win of the season this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, but the result will likely — and unfortunately — be overshadowed by Meyer’s continued skid.