Jaguars fire Urban Meyer after 13 games amid countless controversies

3-time national championship-winning coach dismissed day after ex-player says Meyer kicked him
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer in preseason game, Aug. 29, 2021
Posted at 5:15 AM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 10:40:08-05

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Urban Meyer's tumultuous NFL tenure ended after just 13 games — and two victories — when the Jacksonville Jaguars fired him early Thursday because of an accumulation of missteps.

Owner Shad Khan made the move hours after ex-Jaguars player Josh Lambo told a Florida newspaper Meyer kicked him during 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 in a statement.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

It was the latest embarrassment for the three-time national championship-winning college coach who failed miserably to make the transition to the NFL.

Lambo told the Tampa Bay Times that Meyer called him a "dips---" and kicked him in the leg at practice during the week of the final preseason game.

Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo after missing PAT vs. Arizona Cardinals, Sept. 26, 2021
Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo sets up for a kickoff after missing an extra point during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla.

"It certainly wasn't as hard as he could've done it, but it certainly wasn't a love tap," Lambo told the newspaper. "Truthfully, I'd register it as a five [out of 10]. Which in the workplace, I don't care if it's football or not, the boss can't strike an employee, and for a second, I couldn't believe it actually happened. Pardon my vulgarity, I said, 'Don't you ever f---ing kick me again!' And his response was, 'I'm the head ball coach. I'll kick you whenever the f--- I want.'"

The Jaguars eventually released Lambo after he missed three field goals to start the season.

Meyer's tenure in Jacksonville has been shaky almost from the start.

In February, Meyer hired former Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle, who was accused of making racist remarks and belittling and bullying players while with the Hawkeyes. Doyle resigned a day later after the Jaguars were criticized for the hire.

The NFL Players Association said in August it would initiate an investigation after Meyer said he and general manager Trent Baalke considered a player's COVID-19 vaccination status for final roster cuts, because COVID-19 protocols imposed on unvaccinated players who test positive or are identified as a high-risk close contact are more stringent than the protocols for vaccinated players.

After the Jaguars lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on a Thursday night, Meyer didn't travel home with the team and instead went to Columbus, Ohio, to visit his grandchildren.

A video began circulating on social media the next day that showed a woman who was not Meyer's wife dancing close to his lap at his Columbus restaurant. Meyer apologized and Khan also issued a public rebuke.

"As I stated in October, regaining our trust and respect was essential," Khan said Thursday. "Regrettably, it did not happen."

Then there were the on-field blunders.

In July, the NFL fined the Jaguars $200,000 and Meyer $100,000 for excessive contact during a June 1 organized team activity. The team was also ordered to forfeit two OTAs during the first week of the 2022 offseason.

The Jaguars signed former Florida Gators quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow to play tight end, but he struggled to make the transition to a position he had never played and was cut in the preseason.

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Tim Tebow watches on sideline of preseason game, Aug. 14, 2021
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Tim Tebow (85) watches on the sideline during the second half of a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla.

Meyer also had No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence alternate days with Gardner Minshew througout training camp to earn the starting quarterback job.

Lawrence was eventually named the starter and Minshew was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Running back James Robinson was also critical of his reduced playing time after fumbling in games against the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams.

Meyer said he wasn't aware of how long Robinson was held out of games and put the blame on running backs coach Bernie Parmalee.

Lawrence told reporters after the team's loss to the Rams that Robinson is the team's best offensive player and needs to be on the field as much as possible.

Meyer joins former Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino as college coaches whose NFL careers flamed out in stunningly swift fashion.