Urban Meyer fired by Jacksonville Jaguars after just 13 games

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla.–The Jacksonville Jaguars fired Urban Meyer early Thursday, ending his short-lived tenure as head coach of the team following numerous headaches and controversies. 

The move was made by owner Shad Khan just hours after kicker Josh Lambo, who was released by the Jaguars earlier this year, told the Tampa Bay Times that Meyer kicked him during a practice in August.

“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,” Khan said, according to a statement on the team’s website. “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.”

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer reacts to a turnover in the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021.
(AP Photo/Brett Duke)

“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,” the owner added. 

This season, the Jaguars amassed just two wins in 13 games, and have routinely been in the headlines for the wrong reasons since Meyer took over — following a prolific career in college football. 

On Wednesday, quarterback Trevor Lawrence told the Associated Press that you “can’t always be in the headlines.”

Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars meets with head coach Urban Meyer and coach Brian Schottenheimer in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 30, 2021, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

“I do think that has to change and that’s something that we need to work on for sure,” Lawrence said. “You can’t always be in the headlines. You just got to go play football, and that’s where we’re trying to get, and I have no doubt we’ll get there.”

Lawrence and the Jaguars will have to get there without Meyer. 

Khan said that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as Jacksonville’s interim head coach for the final four games, starting Sunday against the Houston Texans. Trent Baalke will continue to serve as general manager, Khan added.

Meyer went 2-11 in his partial season, and the Jaguars really started to unravel on the offensive side of the ball following the team’s bye week. They averaged a measly 9.1 points in Meyer’s final seven games, which ended with a five-game skid.

Meyer’s biggest issues came off the field, where he tried to handle a professional team like he was on a college campus. 

He splashed slogans and catchphrases around the facility, instilled gimmicks in practice, and repeated his misguided belief that coaches coach for players and players play for coaches. He brought in motivational speakers and kept blaming assistants for the team’s mounting losses instead of the grown men actually on the field.

However, one of Meyer’s most damning decisions came following a Thursday night game at Cincinnati in late September. He chose to stay behind with family instead of flying home with his team and then got caught on video the following night behaving inappropriately with a woman at a bar in Columbus, Ohio.

Bailing on his players showed just how out of touch Meyer was with NFL norms. And it was just one of many head-scratching choices for the 57-year-old coach who found success at every college stop: Bowling Green (2001-02), Utah (2003-04), Florida (2005-10), and Ohio State (2012-18).

Meyer joins former Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino as college coaches whose NFL careers flamed out in stunningly swift fashion. Petrino resigned in December 2007 to take over at Arkansas. He was 3-10 at the time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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