Before he could even complete his first season in the NFL, Urban Meyer was fired by the Jacksonville Jaguars late Wednesday night, bringing an end to his brief but tumultuous reign.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season, starting with Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.
Meyer, 57, was hired in January with much fanfare by Jaguars owner Shad Khan in an effort to turn around a team that finished 1-15 in 2020.
Despite having no previous NFL coaching experience, Meyer boasted impeccable college credentials after winning two national championships at the University of Florida (2006 and 2008) and one at Ohio State (2014). His overall record as a college head coach was 187-32 (.854).
In Jacksonville, Meyer’s return to the state of Florida coincided with the arrival of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft, quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
However, Meyer’s first NFL season was plagued by missteps from the start.
In February, Meyer hired Chris Doyle, the former University of Iowa strength coach who allegedly made racist comments and bullied players, as the team’s director of sports performance. One day later, Doyle resigned amid backlash to his hiring.
Meyer was also fined $100,000 before the start of training camp for violating practice rules during organized team activities.
After a Week 4 loss in Cincinnati, Meyer drew criticism for not flying back with the team and instead remaining in his home state to socialize with friends. That weekend, he was recorded in a video that went viral on social media with a woman who was not his wife dancing close to him.
“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. “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.”
URBAN MEYER TIMELINE: Series of controversies, incidents and embarrassments marked his short time with Jaguars
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More recently, as the Jaguars have stumbled to a 2-11 record, an NFL Network report said Meyer called his assistants losers in a team meeting and challenged each coach to defend their resumes. Meyer denied that he held such a meeting with his coaching staff, but he threatened to fire anyone in the organization found to be leaking information to the media.
And although Jags wide receiver Marvin Jones said a recent disagreement with Meyer never turned into a heated discussion, as one report claimed, former Jacksonville kicker Josh Lambo told the Tampa Bay Times that an irritated Meyer once kicked him in the leg during pregame warmups.
Despite the many controversies – and Lawrence’s increasingly worsening performances – Khan had remained steadfast in his support for Meyer.
Until he decided it was no longer possible.