Urban Meyer has broken his silence on the dramatic end to his short-lived Jacksonville Jaguars tenure.
Although Meyer and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence were supposed to signal the beginning of a new era in Jacksonville, the Jaguars fired Meyer in the early hours of Thursday morning just 13 games into the first season of a five-year contract.
After too much controversy and too few wins, the legendary college football coach expressed remorse for failing to deliver on expectations.
“I just apologize to Jacksonville,” Meyer told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network on Friday. “I love Jacksonville. It’s one of the reasons I took the job. I still think Shad (Khan is) a great owner. It’s heart-breaking. I just had a dream of it becoming a destination place with a new facility he agreed to build and someday to walk into that stadium where it’s standing room only.
“Because I know how bad the people of Jacksonville want it. So, I’m just heartbroken that we weren’t able to do that. I still believe it’s going to be done. It’s too good of a place.”
Jacksonville started the season 0-5, and Meyer’s future appeared in jeopardy after the team’s fourth loss when a viral video showed him at a bar with a woman who wasn’t his wife.
However, Meyer briefly appeared to turn things around. The Jaguars earned their first win in London against the Miami Dolphins in Week 6 and stunned the Buffalo Bills two games later.
But another five-game losing streak followed. Lawrence and the offense, in particular, struggled, averaging just 9.6 points per contest.
“I tell people, losing eats away at your soul,” Meyer said. “Once you start losing, it’s hard on everybody. I thought at one point, when we won two out of three, there was some momentum, great energy, the defense was really playing well. We were running the ball, and then when that dried up on us, then we started turning the ball over. We had that bye week, and then James Robinson gets hurt.”
The Jaguars reportedly fired Meyer for cause and don’t intend to pay him the remaining four years of his contract.
Meyer also drew criticism for reported run-ins with players and staff that caused friction within the organization. Moreover, former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo said Wednesday that Meyer kicked him during a practice in August.
Meyer has denied Lambo’s version of events and emphasized he felt his style of coaching was fair.
“You push people really hard to find their greatness, but you treat them like gold,” he said. “I thought that’s what we’re gonna do and we’re gonna win. It was really going good for a while.”
Meyer, who worked as a TV analyst for Fox before joining the Jaguars, added that his next career move is still “to be determined.”