Column: Urban Meyer's fall from grace in Jacksonville could end his football career
Urban Meyer now has enough red flags to never be hired again.
His reputation is too tarnished; his fall from grace unceremonious.
And the fashion in which he carried himself in Jacksonville, belittling players and coaches, may have ruined any possibility for him to coach in the NFL, college or even appear on TV as an analyst again.
Meyer’s credibility is completely shot, and there may be no reviving it.
The Jacksonville Jaguars fired Meyer shortly after midnight Thursday, mercifully ending one of the most tumultuous coaching tenures in NFL history.
After a storied career at the college level, where Meyer became one of the greatest coaches of all time behind three national championships, he struggled mightily leading an NFL team he was hired to rebuild.
The final straw came Wednesday, when former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo told the Tampa Bay Times Meyer kicked him in the leg during a preseason practice. Meyer refuted Lambo's account of the incident.
That came after another NFL Network report detailing the dysfunction Meyer fostered in Jacksonville. Meyer reportedly got into a heated argument with veteran receiver Marvin Jones Jr. after criticizing the team’s receivers. Meyer also called his assistant coaches “losers,” while questioning their coaching credentials compared to his own.
And let’s not forget the embarrassment that was the viral video of Meyer enjoying himself in an Ohio bar alongside a woman who was not his wife. The October incident occurred following a Thursday night loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, when Meyer did not travel back to Jacksonville with his team.
He certainly will never get an NFL job again.
Which college director will be desperate enough to hire and roll out the carpet for Meyer and his baggage?
And which TV executive can convince their own employees and precious viewers Meyer is worthy of their time because he’s an experienced voice with integrity?
Meyer won two national championships at Florida and one at Ohio State, and he still receives praise for his coaching despite his players and coaches running roughshod off the field.
Now, after 11 months with the Jaguars and just two victories in 13 games, Meyer’s run end in embarrassment.
“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,” Jaguars owner Shad 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.”
Earlier this year, Khan confidently — and in hindsight, embarrassingly — said he “got it right” by hiring Meyer to lead his NFL franchise.
The Jaguars had no choice but to fire Meyer, who was in over his head. They should have made the move in October once his bar video went viral.
But now Khan and the Jaguars are in better position to truly turn their franchise around.
I mean, there’s really only one way for Jacksonville to go from here.
The NFL approved a resolution Wednesday that allows teams with vacant coaching positions to interview potential head coaching candidates during the final two weeks of the season.
So, on Dec. 28, the Jaguars will join the Raiders (and any other franchises looking to make an early move) in beginning their search for a new coach.
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, is one of several talented players the Jaguars acquired in recent years, laying a solid foundation with a young core.
When more than half the battle as an NFL coach is finding or landing a good quarterback, Jacksonville should have plenty of coaches showing interest in the job.
New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could finally leave Bill Belichick’s side. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy could leave Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who coached the Falcons to a Super Bowl, could also be in the running. Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll could earn a shot after he lost out on the Chargers job last year while Buffalo was in the playoffs.
Add Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frasier and former Lions coach Jim Caldwell to the mix of qualified minority candidates who should get interviews, too.
In other words, the Jaguars have plenty of credible options to choose from.
And it would be difficult for Khan to get this next coaching hire as wrong as he did the last one.