On December 14, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan made a statement in defense of embattled head coach Urban Meyer, who was facing a fresh round of leaked reports of behind-the-scenes drama while the team struggled on the field.
“I want to do the right thing for the team. I want to do the right thing for the city,” Khan said at the time. “That, to me, is way more important than just acting helter-skelter on emotion. I think we have a history of really looking at the facts and then really doing the right thing.”
However, according to a spokesperson, Khan reportedly made his decision to fire Meyer after Jacksonville’s 20-0 loss to the Tennessee Titans on December 12. The spokesman said that a conversation between Khan and Meyer after the game ended up sealing the deal for the owner, who had been considering the move for weeks.
Meyer was officially fired late on December 15.
“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.”
Khan also reportedly met with the Jaguars’ assistant coaches after that game to discuss the ongoing drama surrounding the franchise, but also to clearly send a message against leaking anything to the media, which Meyer had said would lead to someone’s dismissal during his press conference on Sunday.
While it was presumed that former Jacksonville kicker Josh Lambo’s accusations that Meyer kicked him during warmups were seen as the final straw for the head coach, Woodcock said that the decision had already been made.
“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.”
For what it’s worth, the organization never publicly denied Lambo’s allegations.
Khan’s explanation doesn’t quite add up. Why put out a statement on the 14th saying you don’t want to make a hasty decision when you’ve already made a decision? Perhaps this is all just an attempt to save face for an owner who let the Urban Meyer Experiment go on way longer than it should have.
Khan’s statement on the 14th wasn’t the first one he had to make because of Meyer. That first one came after the viral video incident of the head coach dancing with a young woman in a bar in Ohio while his team flew back to Florida. Khan’s sternly worded statement said that Meyer’s “conduct last weekend was inexcusable” and that the head coach “regain our trust and respect.”
When he fired Meyer, Khan noted that, when it came to regaining the organization’s trust and respect, “regrettably, it did not happen.”