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With the dust finally settled from the disastrous short-lived Urban Meyer era in Jacksonville last season, Jaguars owner Shad Khan has revealed why he fired the former head coach.
Khan told USA Today Sports that unlike Jacksonville’s previous head coaches of Doug Marrone and Gus Bradley, Meyer was not fired because of a lack of success on the field.
“When you lose the respect, the trust and an issue of truthfulness, how can you work with someone like that?” Khan told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s not possible.”
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer stands on the sideline during the final minutes of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File)
Khan previously said Meyer needed to regain “our trust and respect” after the coach decided not to fly home with the team following a loss against the Cincinnati Bengals in late September. Meyer, who is married, was then apparently seen on video dancing with a woman at an Ohio bar.
“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,” Khan said. “That will require a personal commitment from Urban to everyone who supports, represents, or plays for our team. I am confident he will deliver.”
Meyer never regained that trust back. He was fired in December after numerous controversies and after the Jaguars amassed just two wins in 13 games.
Khan, speaking on the state of the franchise during last week’s draft, said the reason Meyer was fired was “not about wins and losses.”
Shad Khan, Owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, looks on before the start of a game against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field on October 13, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Khan is known for giving coaches time to develop and lead a roster. Bradley was fired at the tail end of the 2016 season after Jacksonville went 14-48 during his tenure, while Marrone amassed a 25-44 record before being fired in January last year following a 1-15 campaign.
“I think when you know someone is not truthful, how can you be around someone, OK? We had Doug Marrone here four years. We had Gus Bradley here four years. I have nothing but the utmost respect and friendship with them,” Khan said, via the outlet. “That’s why they got the time, because it wasn’t a matter about respect or truth. It was a matter of wins and losses over four years. This is much bigger than that.”
Meyer went 2-11 in his partial season, and the Jaguars really started to unravel on the offensive side of the ball following the team’s bye week. They averaged a measly 9.1 points in Meyer’s final seven games, which ended with a five-game skid.
“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,” Khan said, according to a statement on the team’s website. “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.”
Khan and Meyer have yet to reach an agreement on a settlement, the outlet reported. Meyer reportedly signed a deal worth $10-12 million a year which the Jaguars don’t plan on paying because they say Meyer was fired for cause.
The Jaguars have a fresh start this season under new head coach Doug Pederson, who led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in February 2018. The Jaguars nearly made it to the big game that year, but they lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship.
Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson watches from the sideline during the first half of the team’s NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
But the future is looking brighter for Jacksonville now that the Meyer tenure is in the rearview mirror. The team selected Trevor Lawrence and Travon Walker with the No. 1 overall pick in the last two drafts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report