NFL's Jaguars sack scandal-plagued coach Meyer
Miami (AFP) – Urban Meyer was sacked as coach of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars after less than a year, his tenure marred by a string of scandals and on-field mediocrity.
The Jags have won just two games this season under Meyer, 57, who was a star coach in US college gridiron but has presided over a period of turmoil.
"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," Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan said in a statement on the team's website shortly after midnight Wednesday night.
"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."
On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Times carried a story in which former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo described Meyer kicking him as he performed a stretching drill alongside teammates in the pre-season.
Lambo, who told the newspaper that Meyer didn't call specialist players by their names but instead called them "Kicker", "Punter" or "Long Snapper", said the incident occurred after he had missed field goal attempts in each of the team's first two pre-season games.
Meyer, who joined the team in January, denied the incident happened.
Khan didn't address it in his statement, but clearly the Jaguars' billionaire owner had had enough.
After the team opened the season 0-4, Meyer drew widespread criticism in October when viral social media posts showed him cavorting with women in a bar after one of those defeats.
Meyer issued an apology but Khan issued a stinging public reprimand, accusing the coach of "inexcusable conduct."
Meyer's tenure in Jacksonville had opened with controversy over his recruitment of a former University of Iowa strength coach who had previously been accused of racism and bullying.
NFL.com reported last week that Meyer had called his assistant coaches losers, and that receiver Marvin Jones had become so angry with Meyer's public and private criticism of the team's receivers that he left the team facility and had to be convinced to return.
The Jaguars lost their fifth straight game on Sunday when they were shut out 20-0 by the Tennessee Titans to fall to 2-11.
Khan said that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as interim head coach for the balance of the 2021 season.
"Trent Baalke continues as our general manager and will work with Darrell to ensure that our team will be inspired and competitive while representing Jacksonville proudly over our final four games of the season," Khan said.
"In the spirit of closure and recharging our players, staff and fan base, I will not comment further until some point following the conclusion of the NFL season."
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