Sep 30, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Urban Meyer makes latest apologies to Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer continued his rounds of apologies on Wednesday, this time addressing his team about his behavior in Ohio last week.

NFL Network characterized Meyer as “honest and pretty forthright” as he talked to the players, adding he “expressed remorse and asked for forgiveness.”

Meyer has been under fire since a video emerged on Saturday that showed him at a bar he owns in Columbus with a young woman dancing close to him. A second video emerged Monday, taken from another angle, that appeared to show Meyer touching the woman’s bottom.

He told reporters at a news conference Wednesday that while owner Shad Khan has expressed disappointment, Meyer has not been fined. The embattled first-year coach also said he hasn’t considered resigning.

Meyer and his wife, Shelley, have been married since 1986 and have three children. The woman in the video has not been identified but was not Shelley Meyer.

The NFL Network report said Meyer told the team he “cares about two things, really. Football and family, and he embarrassed them both.”

Meyer, 57, discussed the fallout Tuesday night on his radio show on station 1010XL in Jacksonville.

“I made a comment when I got here about the logo, about an owner who wants to win in the worst way,” Meyer said. “That’s one of the reasons I came here. I just, I admire that guy so much. … And so, that’s what makes me so angry at myself that I lived that, I believe that and I failed.”

He said the conversations he’s been forced to hold this week with members of the organizations have been “horrible.”

“The fact that I became a distraction, I’ve got to earn their trust back from that,” Meyer said.

On Tuesday, Khan said Meyer must do just that.

“I have addressed this matter with Urban,” Khan wrote in a statement. “… 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.”

Meyer is in his first year with the Jaguars after leading Florida and Ohio State to three national titles.

The Jaguars are 0-4 and have lost 19 consecutive games dating back to their victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2020 season opener. Jacksonville squandered a 14-point halftime lead last Thursday and lost a 24-21 heartbreaker to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Meyer also has been criticized for not accompanying his young team back to Florida and instead remaining in Ohio to visit with his grandchildren.

He told reporters Wednesday that he got the OK from general manager Trent Baalke to stay in Ohio.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer looks on prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Jags owner: Urban Meyer must ‘regain trust, respect’

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan released a statement Tuesday saying Urban Meyer needs to “regain our trust and respect” after a weekend incident between the married head coach and a young woman was caught on video.

Khan’s statement comes a day after Meyer apologized to the team, fans and his family for the incident, which was recorded at a bar in Columbus, Ohio. The video went viral on social media.

“I have addressed this matter with Urban,” Khan wrote. “… 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.”

The video showed Meyer sitting on a barstool with his hands on the woman who was dancing on him. After his apology Monday for “being a distraction,” calling his actions “stupid,” another video of the incident was released and went viral, too.

Meyer, 57, acknowledged that his family is “upset.” He and his wife, Shelley, have three children and two grandchildren.

Meyer is off to an 0-4 start in his NFL debut season. The Jaguars will host the Tennessee Titans (2-2) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer looks on prior to the watery of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Urban Meyer issues apology in aftermath of viral video

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer issued an apology Monday in the aftermath of a viral video that showed the married 57-year-old in close quarters with a young woman in a bar over the weekend.

The incident happened Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, where Meyer was the head coach at Ohio State from 2012-18.

“I just apologized to the team and staff for being a distraction,” he said. “It was stupid. So I explained everything that happened, owned it. It’s stupid … I should not have myself in that kind of position.”

Meyer did not fly back with the team after Thursday night’s loss in Cincinnati.

“I stayed to see the grandkids and we all went to dinner that night,” Meyer said. “There was a big group next to our restaurant. They wanted me to come over and take pictures, and I did. They were trying to pull me out on the dance floor screwing around and I should have left.”

The video showed Meyer sitting on a barstool with his hands on the woman who was dancing on him. By some reports, the video was seen more than 750,000 times while spawning countless memes.

Meyer said he spoke to team leaders one-on-one as well as the team at large.

“They’re good, they’re focused on Tennessee. I apologized again for being a distraction. And a coach should not be a distraction,” Meyer said.

Meyer acknowledged that his family is “upset.” He and his wife, Shelley, have three children and two grandchildren.

He also talked to Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

“Very supportive,” Meyer said of their chat. “In fact I talked to him at length right when I got that phone call that night.”

Meyer is off to an 0-4 start in his NFL debut season. The Jaguars will host the Tennessee Titans (2-2) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer reacts during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Urban Meyer on USC opening: ‘No chance’

Taking over the Jacksonville Jaguars will not spare Urban Meyer from being connected to college football coaching rumors.

In his first press conference since Southern Cal fired head coach Clay Helton to create the prominent vacancy, Meyer was asked if he was a candidate to coach the Trojans.

“There’s no chance. I’m here and committed to trying to build this organization,” Meyer, 57, said Wednesday.

The Jaguars are 0-1 and preparing to play the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Meyer is one of several coaches with other jobs loosely linked to the USC job. On Tuesday, Penn State coach James Franklin said he took time before practice to meet with the team and talk through his position on reports suggesting he could be the next coach of the Trojans.

“I can’t stand any form of distraction,” Franklin said. “I’ll discuss this with the (team’s) leadership council, so that we can make sure that all of our energy is on our preparation for Auburn.”

Meyer won three national championships as a college coach — in 2006, 2008 and 2014 — at Florida and Ohio State.

He stepped away from coaching at Florida to focus on his health in 2010 and took over at Ohio State in 2012. He retired early in 2019 after the Rose Bowl and joined FOX as a college football analyst.

–Field Level Media

Aug 29, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer on the sidelines during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars: No player released because of vaccination status

The Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday issued a statement dismissing the notion that any player was released because of their vaccination status.

The statement came one day after Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said he and general manager Trent Baalke considered a player’s vaccination status during final roster cuts.

Meyer’s comments were not well received by the NFL Players Association, which has since launched an investigation into the matter.

The Jaguars said Wednesday that roster moves were made solely upon a player’s ability to help the team win.

“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,” the Jaguars said in a statement.

“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 and families safe as we comply with protocols related to both health and safety and competition on game days.”

Meyer said the following on Tuesday in regard to the team’s decisions on player cuts:

“Everyone was considered. That was part of the (considerations such as) production, let’s start talking about this, and also is he vaccinated or not? Can I say that that was a decision-maker? It was certainly in consideration.”

–Field Level Media

FSU's former Head Coach Bobby Bowden acknowledges the fans during the Garnet and Gold Spring game at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

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Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden dies at 91

Legendary former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden has died, the school announced Sunday morning. He was 91.

Bowden was diagnosed with a terminal medical condition last month. The Hall of Fame coach did not reveal specifics at the time, although his son Terry later told reporters that it was pancreatic cancer.

“I’ve always tried to serve God’s purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come,” Bowden said in a statement announcing the condition. “My wife Ann and our family have been life’s greatest blessing. I am at peace.”

Bowden tested positive for COVID-19 in October and also was hospitalized in June for five days.

“Florida State University has lost a legend in the passing of Bobby Bowden,” university president John Thrasher said in a statement. “On behalf of everyone at FSU, Jean and I extend our deepest condolences to Ann and the Bowden family.

“Coach Bowden built a football dynasty and raised the national profile of Florida State University, and he did it with class and a sense of humor. While he leaves an incredible legacy as one of the best football coaches in collegiate history, he also will be remembered for his great faith, his love of family and his mentorship of countless young people. He will be profoundly missed.”

Current Seminoles coach Mike Norvell also honored Bowden for his qualities as a man, not just as a great football coach.

“Coach Bowden was one of the greatest coaches ever, but more than that he was an incredible man,” Norvell said in a statement. “He was a special human being who earned an enduring legacy because of his wonderful heart, faith and values he lived. It was the honor of my lifetime to know him and beyond anything I could dream to have a relationship with him.”

Former Florida coach Urban Meyer, one of Bowden’s coaching rivals, shared his condolences over social media.

“Today, we lost a legend. Bobby was a great friend and mentor to me, and his impact transcended the coaching profession in so many ways,” Meyer wrote on Twitter. “Sending love to Ann and the entire Bowden family. Rest In Peace Coach Bowden.”

Bowden served as the coach at West Virginia from 1970-75 before joining the Florida State program in 1976. He posted a 315-98-4 record with the Seminoles and guided the school to two national titles (1993, 1999) and 12 ACC championships (1992-2000, 2002-03, 2005).

Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

–Field Level Media

Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer claps as his players transition between drills on the practice fields outside TIAA Bank Field during the Jacksonville Jaguars  mandatory veterans minicamp session Monday morning, June 14, 2021. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

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Reports: 49ers, Cowboys, Jags dinged for OTA violations

The Jacksonville Jaguars were fined $200,000 and the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys were each fined $100,000 for violating NFL rules about organized team activities, ESPN and NFL Network reported Thursday.

New Jaguars coach Urban Meyer was fined $100,000 while 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy were levied $50,000 fines. In addition, according to the reports, each team had to forfeit a certain amount of OTA practice time, either this year or for 2022.

The precise violations were not made public.

The Jaguars released a statement saying that the club is “vigilant about practicing within the (Collective Bargaining Agreement) rules and will re-emphasize offseason training rules as they relate to contact. We are looking forward to the start of training camp later this month.”

OTAs are held during the offseason and are typically run at a lower speed and intensity. Players are only allowed to wear helmets, shorts and jerseys — no pads — in accordance with the CBA.

–Field Level Media

May 15, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back runs a play Travis Etienne Jr. during rookie mini camp at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Etienne works at WR for Urban Meyer, Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars made a somewhat mysterious selection by picking Clemson running back Travis Etienne in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The team already had a strong No. 1 running back in James Robinson and had signed dependable veteran Carlos Hyde in free agency.

On Saturday, first-year Jaguars coach Urban Meyer provided a pretty big clue.

Meyer is using Etienne as a wide receiver at this weekend’s rookie minicamp, forming a pass-catch combo with Etienne’s college quarterback — and the No. 1 overall pick — Trevor Lawrence.

“That’s the reason we drafted him is the opportunity to be a dual-threat guy and our history as long as we’ve had a guy like that and we saw him as a guy like that in the draft this year,” Meyer said on a conference call Saturday. “Right now, we’re focusing on the fundamentals of wide receiver play, learning the offense from wide receiver.

“Like I said, worst-case scenario is you have a running back that’s elite with receiver skills and best-case scenario he’s a legitimate dual-threat guy.

Etienne, the 25th overall pick, is up for the challenge.

“I feel like I create a problem outside for a linebacker, so I feel like football is a game of matchups. We’re just trying to get the best matchups for us to go out there and make plays and do what’s best for the team,” Etienne said to CBS Sports.

“I feel like if I really hone in on my skills and just keep working at it, work on my route running ability and really focus in on what the plan is and buy into that, we’ll make plays, we’re playmakers. I feel like, like I said, football is a game of matchups, and this creates the best matchups for us.”

Etienne, 22, caught 102 passes for 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns in four seasons at Clemson. He also rushed for 4,952 yards and 70 scores.

–Field Level Media

Feb 12, 2021; Clemson, SC, USA;  Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence works out as Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer (right) looks on during Pro Day in Clemson, South Carolina. Mandatory Credit: David Platt/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Urban Meyer: Jags leaning toward Trevor Lawrence at No. 1

Dec 6, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Shawn Williams (36) leaves the field after being ejected from the game against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

New Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer just about confirmed the worst-kept secret in the NFL: His team is likely to select Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft next month.

“I’d have to say that’s the direction we’re going,” Meyer told NBC Sports. “I’ll leave that up to the owner when we make that decision official. But I’m certainly not stepping out of line that that’s certainly the direction we’re headed.”

Lawrence, who led Clemson to the national championship following his freshman season in 2018, won’t be in attendance at the draft, to be held in Cleveland beginning April 29. ESPN reported Monday that Lawrence will watch the draft at Clemson with family members and close friends.

He is third all-time on the school’s passing list in passing yards with 10,098 and second in touchdown passes with 90.

The Jaguars were 21st in the NFL in passing last season with 3,699 yards behind the trio of Gardner Minshew, Jake Luton and Mike Glennon.

Jacksonville has been searching for a franchise quarterback since the departure of Mark Brunell after the 2003 season. Since then, they have taken three quarterbacks in the first round: Byron Leftwich (No. 7 overall in 2003); Blaine Gabbert (No. 10 in 2011); and Blake Bortles (No. 3 in 2014).

Lawrence is recovering from surgery in February to repair the labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder but is expected at training camp.

–Field Level Media

Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Former football head coach Urban Meyer on the sidelines of Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Fritz Pollard Alliance criticizes Urban Meyer’s hiring of Chris Doyle

The Fritz Pollard Alliance criticized the Jacksonville Jaguars and new head coach Urban Meyer for hiring Chris Doyle, a former strength coach at the University of Iowa who allegedly made racist and derogatory comments to players, as the Jaguars’ director of sports performance.

Fritz Pollard Alliance executive director Rod Graves called the hire “unacceptable” and said it’s the latest example of the issues minority coaches must overcome to get NFL jobs.

“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,” Graves’ statement read. “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.”

Comprised of scouts, coaches and front office personnel in the NFL as well as other sports professionals, the Fritz Pollard Alliance is a charitable organization focused on promoting diversity within the NFL.

The Jaguars announced on Thursday the hiring of Doyle, who had served as the Hawkeyes director of strength and conditioning from 1999 until last summer. The two parted ways after several former Hawkeyes went public with the way they were mistreated during their time in Iowa City.

The NFL and the Jaguars have not responded to a request for comment by NFL Network.

Several Black players alleged that Doyle and other coaches used racist language towards them, while a former offensive lineman, who is Caucasian, said Doyle and other coaches made fun of his learning disability.

Doyle claimed he never said anything inappropriate.

“At no time have I ever crossed the line of unethical behavior or bias based upon race,” he wrote on Twitter after the allegations against him surfaced. “I do not make racist comments and I don’t tolerate people who do.”

However, Meyer said his background check into Doyle, as well as their conversations and longtime relationship, convinced him Doyle wouldn’t cause any issues in Jacksonville.

“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. “We did a very good job vetting that one.

“… I met with our staff and I’m going to be very transparent with all the players like I am with everything. I’ll listen closely and learn, and also there’s going to have to be some trust in their head coach that we’re going to give them the very best of the best, and time will tell. … The allegations that took place, I will say (to the players) I vetted him. I know the person for close to 20 years and I can assure them there will be nothing of any sort in the Jaguar facility.”

The University of Iowa placed Doyle on administrative leave on June 6, and the school and Doyle announced on June 14 that his time with the Hawkeyes was over.

Doyle, who was the country’s highest-paid strength coach at $800,000 annually, received 15 months’ salary, in addition to he and his family receiving benefits from Iowa for 15 months, or until he landed another job.

–Field Level Media