JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars are trying to set the record straight about owner Shad Khan’s firing of beleaguered coach Urban Meyer.
A spokesman for Khan told The Associated Press on Friday night that the decision to move on from Meyer was made following Jacksonville’s 20-0 loss at Tennessee on Sunday. A conversation Khan and Meyer had in the locker room after that shutout — Meyer had few answers for the team’s woes or how he planned to fix them — sealed a decision Khan had been mulling for weeks.
“It was determined to wait until the conclusion of previously scheduled appointments that week to make the announcement,” spokesman Jim Woodcock said. “Those appointments included an employee staff luncheon and meeting with Jacksonville media, both to recognize the 10th anniversary of Shad’s purchase of the Jaguars, on Monday as well as NFL meetings in Dallas on December 14 and 15.”
The Jaguars ended up firing Meyer early Thursday, hours after former kicker Josh Lambo accused the coach of kicking him during an August practice. Connecting that report by a Florida newspaper, which the Jaguars haven’t disputed, to Khan’s announcement made sense. But the Jaguars say it was more coincidental than causative.
“The announcement was made at 12:35 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, December 16, to provide coaches and staff alike a fresh start upon reporting to the stadium that morning,” Woodcock said. “Contrary to incorrect assumptions and widespread egregious reporting, the dismissal was not triggered by a single newspaper report late Wednesday afternoon related to a claim made by a former player.
“To repeat from Shad’s official statement, the decision was reached ‘after deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban’s tenure with our team.'”
Meyer’s 11-month tenure was filled with mistakes and missteps, none more damning than Meyer staying behind after a game at Cincinnati in late September and getting caught on video acting inappropriately with a woman at a restaurant/bar.
Khan started attending weekly team meetings following that incident.
With offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell taking over as interim head coach, Jaguars players said they are ready to look ahead and move past the chaos that has gripped the franchise almost since the moment Meyer was hired in January.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence said Thursday the coaching change brings much-needed “clarity” to the team.
“I wouldn’t believe you if you told me this is how this year was going to go,” Lawrence said. ” … I think it [the coaching change] brings a little bit of clarity to the guys in the locker room. I wouldn’t say relief, but I would say just bring some clarity and some direction moving forward.”
“You know, we really want to go and finish the season strong and to be honest, it’s been hard the last week with everything going on. And there’s a lot of things being stirred up I think by the outside, too. That didn’t help [and] made things a lot worse, but also everything that’s going on.
“It’s hard to be focused and have all your attention and efforts going towards winning the game when there’s so many things going on.”
ESPN’s Michael DiRocco and The Associated Press contributed to this report.