It turns out that Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s decision to fire former head coach Urban Meyer had less to do with football than it did everything else.
“When you lose the respect, the trust and an issue of truthfulness, how can you work with someone like that?” Khan told USA Today Sports of Meyer’s disastrous debut in Jacksonville last season. “It’s not possible.”
Meyer was fired last December after coaching the Jaguars to a 2-11 record while also at the center of a string of negative headlines alleging lewd behavior both on and off the field.
“It was not about wins and losses,” said Khan, who called the situation “bitterly disappointing” in a previous statement announcing Meyer’s dismissal. “I think when you know someone is not truthful, how can you be around someone, OK?
“We had [former coaches] Doug Marrone here four years. We had Gus Bradley here four years. I have nothing but the utmost respect and friendship with them. That’s why they got the time, because it wasn’t a matter about respect or truth. It was a matter of wins and losses over four years. This is much bigger than that.”
The Jaguars hired Doug Pederson, who won a Super Bowl with Philadelphia, as their new head coach in February.
The beginning of the end for Meyer in Jacksonville began last October, when photos and video of the former Ohio State coach at an Ohio bar with a 24-year-old woman on his lap went viral. His wife Shelley was at home watching their grandkids at the time, she said in a since-deleted tweet.
Khan met with Meyer after incident. The coach apologized and Khan said in a statement that Meyer had to “regain our trust and respect” in Jacksonville.
But things became worse for Meyer after reports surfaced of his strained relationships with his coaching staff and players. Meyer reportedly called his assistant coaches “losers,” which he later denied, and got into a verbal spat with receiver Marvin Jones. Then, former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo alleged Meyer kicked him during a practice last August.
As for what’s next for Meyer? While his coaching days may be behind him, he could be poised to return to his role in the Fox Sports college football studio. Last month, Meyer gushed about the network in a podcast appearance, saying, “There’s nothing that’s been finalized yet, but I plan on going back and doing it. I really enjoyed that.”
According to USA Today, Meyer and the Jaguars have been unable to reach a settlement agreement on the five-year contract Meyer signed in 2021, worth $10-12 million per year.