Update: The Jacksonville Jaguars fired Urban Meyer early Thursday, just 13 games (and two wins) into his time as the NFL team's coach. Hours prior to Meyer's termination, a former Jaguars player accused Meyer of kicking him during an August practice, the AP reports. That was just the latest in a series of issues with Meyer. "As I stated in October, regaining our trust and respect was essential. Regrettably, it did not happen," the team owner said in a statement. Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as interim head coach. Our original rundown from Tuesday follows:
One of the NFL storylines this season that seems to make new headlines every week is that of the travails of Urban Meyer, the Jacksonville Jaguars' first-year coach. It's kind of a mess. The Jaguars are 2-11, but things might actually be worse off the field. Coverage:
- Turmoil: A story at NFL.com paints a picture of a team in turmoil, with Meyer at odds with his assistant coaches (calling them "losers") and players (specifically with veteran receiver Marvin Jones, who nearly walked off the team). Jags players reportedly groused to players on the opposing Rams after a recent game about how Meyer doesn't treat them like adults.
- Threat: When the article came out—and ESPN confirmed the broad strokes with its own sources—Meyer's response was to threaten anyone on the team who leaked to the press with immediate firing, per the Florida Times-Union.
- The bar: All this comes after Meyer, earlier in the season, stayed behind in Ohio after a loss to Cincinnati, and a video went viral of him, er, dancing rather closely with a young woman most definitely not his wife. Team owner Shad Khan publicly admonished Meyer after that incident, notes the AP.
- Coverage: All of the above is leading to coverage such as this in the AP, which wrote after Sunday's shutout loss: "Urban Meyer's tenure in Jacksonville is nearing a new low, and no one could have thought that was possible 2 1/2 months ago." Before the season, Meyer was hired for a salary reported to be about $9 million a year for six years, per Yahoo Sports. Why so much? He's won college championships at both Ohio State and Florida.
- Coverage II: At the Washington Post, columnist Sally Jenkins unloads on Meyer. "From the very beginning ... you could tell Meyer badly misapprehended what it takes to lead in the NFL," she writes. "He's as close to a legit NFL head coach as a grackle is to an attack helicopter. The difference between pros and the worshipful spaniel-eyed kids Meyer barked at in college is that high performers in the NFL are almost impossible to manipulate with dishonest or counterfeit slogans. What turns their performance is the truth." Meyer, she adds, is lacking in that.
- Protection: The gist of the coverage is that, as bad as things are, it's unlikely that owner Khan will fire him after just one season, mainly because of that hefty contract. "That's the kind of thing that buys patience," writes Charles Robinson at Yahoo. "But the wrong kind of patience can set a franchise back even further than where it started. And that may be what is going to happen in Jacksonville by the time this plays itself out."
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