Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday that he will not resign over his shocking lapse in judgment last weekend. And why would he? He’d be forfeiting tens of millions of dollars by quitting. Meyer is just nine months into a contract whose terms are confidential. Yet, the belief around football is he earns north of $10 million a year.
Urban Meyer says he won’t quit in Jacksonville
Meyer would be forfeiting a fortune to simply bow out of this increasingly toxic situation. He might have terrible judgment, but he’s not dumb. Instead, Meyer is forcing owner Shad Khan — whom Meyer called a “friend” Wednesday — to either stick with him, pay him a big severance to try to go away, or fire him with cause, which Meyer presumably would fight in court.
“I had at least three or four conversations with Shad,” said Meyer, who insists he was not fined by the organization for his behavior. “The message is loud and clear [and one] that I agree with. Also met with the team on Monday individually, and today, I had a very pointed conversation with them, owning a stupid mistake that I made. … I apologize for the distraction with this huge week coming up.”
Meyer, for those somehow unaware, did some really dumb things over the weekend. He first elected to stay in Ohio after the Jaguars’ loss to the Bengals Thursday night instead of flying back with the team — a cardinal sin in the eyes of most coaches. And then, despite staying in Columbus under the pretext of seeing his family, he spent Friday night out drinking with friends and — ahem — interacting with women that weren’t Shelley Meyer, his wife of 37 years.
He seemed to forget that cell phone cameras existed, and his flirtatious exploits were inevitably splashed all over social media Saturday. We’ll spare you the details, but there’s a reason his wife is displeased.
Meyer’s many mistakes
This all comes on the heels of an NFL fine for overly physical OTA practices, robbing rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence of first-team reps under the guise of a ridiculous training camp competition, blurting out that he would factor in a player’s COVID-19 vaccination status when deciding final cuts (a practice that the league forbids), and then began his NFL coaching career with four straight losses.
If one was trying to get fired nine months into a new job, it’s hard to see what he or she would do differently.
The decision to stay behind in Ohio more than anything demonstrates how Meyer simply doesn’t get it. Players took notice. But apparently, the Jaguars knew of his plans ahead of time. Yet, they didn’t step in to stop him from making a mistake.
Can he bounce back from this?
“I discussed it with Trent [Baalke, the Jaguars’ general manager,] way in advance,” Meyer said. “… I thought at the time that this was a chance for everyone to clear their head, including myself. With my family located with where we were, [I decided] to go spend a day or two with them and then get back. I wanted them to get out of Dodge too and clear their heads.”
If Meyer is truly serious about making it work in Jacksonville, he needs to climb out of a massive hole. He’s now lost credibility with his players — with whom he said Wednesday he still has “a good relationship” — and Khan, who took the extraordinary step of ripping him publicly Tuesday.
“I have addressed this matter with Urban,” Khan wrote. “Specifics of our conversation will be held in confidence. What I will say is his conduct last weekend was inexcusable. I appreciate Urban’s remorse, which I believe is sincere. Now, he must regain our trust and respect. That will require a personal commitment from Urban to everyone who supports, represents or plays for our team. I am confident he will deliver.”