The Jaguars made a splash hire during the 2021 NFL offseason. After firing Doug Marrone following four years with the team, Jacksonville brought aboard Urban Meyer.
Meyer had never held an NFL job, but he was one of the most successful college football coaches of all time. He has posted a 186-32 record during his 17-year college coaching career. That .853 winning percentage is the seventh-highest in college football history.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan was excited about the Meyer joining the Jaguars, as he communicated in a statement after he was hired.
”This is a great day for Jacksonville and Jaguars fans everywhere,” Khan said. ”Urban Meyer is who we want and need, a leader, winner and champion who demands excellence and produces results.
”While Urban already enjoys a legacy in the game of football that few will ever match, his passion for the opportunity in front of him here in Jacksonville is powerful and unmistakable. I’m proud to name Urban the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.”
He might not be as proud now.
Meyer’s brief tenure in Jacksonville has been marred with controversy and scandal. The team’s performance hasn’t been good, as Jacksonville has a 0-5 record as they enter their Week 6 game against the Dolphins in London. The Jaguars players also have had issues with Meyer at times throughout the season.
Below is a recap of Meyer’s first 10 months with the Jaguars and all of the juicy drama that has come along with it.
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Urban Meyer timeline with Jaguars
Jan. 14, 2021: The Jaguars hired Urban Meyer to replace Doug Marrone. This is Meyer’s first job at the NFL level and his coaching post since he left Ohio State in 2018.
Feb. 11, 2021: Meyer hires former Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, who was placed on leave in 2020 after he directed racist language at his players. Meyer defended the team’s decision to hire Doyle.
“I vet everyone on our staff and, like I said, the relationship goes back close to 20 years and a lot of hard questions asked, a lot of vetting involved with all our staff,” Meyer said, per ESPN. “We did a very good job vetting that one.”
Feb. 12, 2021: The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a foundation that promotes diversity within the NFL, slams Meyer’s decision to hire Doyle.
“At a time when the NFL has failed to solve its problem with racial hiring practices, it is simply unacceptable to welcome Chris Doyle into the ranks of NFL coaches,” Fritz Pollard Alliance executive director Rod Graves wrote in the statement, per NFL.com. “Doyle’s departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure riddled with poor judgment and mistreatment of Black players. His conduct should be as disqualifying for the NFL as it was for University of Iowa. Urban Meyer’s statement, ‘I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years’, reflects the good ol’boy network that is precisely the reason there is such a disparity in employment opportunities for Black coaches.”
Feb. 12, 2021: Doyle resigns from the Jaguars, citing that he had become “a distraction” for the team. Meyer accepts his resignation in a statement.
Chris Doyle came to us this evening to submit his resignation and we have accepted. Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville. We are responsible for all aspects of our program.
March 29, 2021: Meyer discusses the departure of Doyle win NBC’s Peter King and notes that he wants nothing to distract his team in 2021.
“I did our due diligence on that,” Meyer said. “But one thing that I made a self-promise — if it’s a distraction . . . it was the right thing for Chris to move on because it became a distraction to our team. Anything that’s a distraction to our team, I want to make sure we avoid.”
April 29, 2021: The Jaguars agree to try out Tim Tebow nearly three months after his retirement from minor league baseball. Tebow was Meyer’s quarterback during their time together at Florida, but he is planning to play the tight end position for the first time at age 33.
Tim Tebow recently reached out to the Jaguars and requested a tryout at the tight end position, per sources, a move many believe would have extended his NFL career had he made the transition earlier. He recently worked out with the Jaguars’ TE coach. No decision has been made.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 29, 2021
May 10, 2021: Meyer and the Jaguars sign Tebow to a one-year deal to compete for a roster spot as a tight end.
May 21, 2021: Jaguars special teams coordinator Brian Schneider steps away from his post for personal reasons. He did the same thing in 2020 when he was with the Seahawks. The Jaguars later hire another Seahawks assistant, Nick Sorensen, to serve as the special teams coordinator.
July 1, 2021: The Jaguars are fined $200K and Meyer is personally fined $100K after the team violated the non-contact rule during OTAs in previous months.
Aug. 17, 2021: Tim Tebow is released by the Jaguars among their first five roster cuts of the 2021 NFL offseason. Meyer calls the decision “tough.”
“We knew that it was an uphill battle for Tim,” Meyer said. “Players loved him. Locker room loved him. But it was the right thing.”
Aug. 26, 2021: Reports emerge that Jaguars players “aren’t thrilled” with Meyer’s coaching style out of the gate.
Aug. 31, 2021: Meyer says that vaccination status was “certainly in consideration” when the Jaguars were making their final roster cuts. This prompts an NFL investigation into the matter since the league doesn’t require players to be vaccinated.
Sept. 1, 2021: The Jaguars release a statement denying Meyer’s claim and explain that they have vaccinated and unvaccinated players on their roster.
Availability is one of the many factors taken into account when making roster decisions. We have vaccinated and unvaccinated players on our roster, and no player was released because of their vaccination status. Ultimately, decisions are based on a player’s ability to help the Jaguars win. We educate our players and respect personal decisions as it pertains to the vaccine. We want to keep our players, staff fand families safe as we comply with protocols related to both health and safety and competition on game days.
Sept. 12, 2021: Jason La Canfora reports that Urban Meyer’s “unhinged” coaching style is already causing issues within the Jaguars’ coaching staff and locker room.
“There is a disconnect at times between the members of the staff with extensive pro experience and those who lack it, and morale has suffered as the outbursts have continued,” La Canfora reports. “His fiery remarks to players and coaches after games have already struck many as bizarre.”
Sept. 20, 2021: The Jaguars drop to 0-2 after a 23-13 loss to the Broncos. That prompts a strange statement from Meyer, via the Jaguars’ official Twitter account.
Sept. 22, 2021: Broncos coach Vic Fangio reveals that Meyer said, “Every week it’s like playing Alabama in the NFL.” Meyer is shredded for these comments.
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Oct. 1, 2021: The Jaguars blow a 14-0 first-half lead against the Bengals and lose 24-21 on the road. Meyer doesn’t fly home with the team after the Thursday night game; he stays in Ohio and travels from Cincinnati to Columbus to visit his family during the mini-bye.
Oct. 2, 2021: A raunchy video of Urban Meyer dancing with a younger woman at an Ohio bar goes viral. Meyer has been married to his wife Shelley since 1986.
Oct. 4, 2021: Meyer apologizes to his team “for being a distraction.” He says his actions were “just stupid.”
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 4, 2021
Oct. 5, 2021: Reports leak that the Jaguars are having “closed door meetings” and discussions about Urban Meyer’s future ahead of their game against the Titans. The reports mention a potential morals clause in his contract while another says that Meyer has “zero credibility” with the Jaguars.
Oct. 5, 2021: Jacksonville owner Shad Khan releases a statement. He calls Meyer’s actions “inexcusable” and says that Meyer “must regain our trust and respect” moving forward.
I have addressed this matter with Urban. 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.
Oct. 10, 2021: The Jaguars lose to the Titans 37-19 to drop to 0-5 on the season. Meyer is questioned about not having Trevor Lawrence try to sneak the ball in on fourth-and-inches in the fourth quarter of the game to cut the Titans’ then-31-19 lead to single digits.
“He’s not quite comfortable with that yet,” Meyer said. “I know that might sound silly, but if you’ve never done it, it’s something that we need to keep [working on] so that we can make that call in that situation.”
However, there was an apparent disconnect between him and Lawrence, who was more than OK with the idea of sneaking it up the middle.
“QB sneak is something we can always get to and I feel comfortable with,” Lawrence said.