JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer apologized to his family, his team and owner Shad Khan for actions he called “just stupid.”
A video surfaced Saturday night showing a woman dancing close to Meyer’s lap, a clip that quickly went viral and made headlines across the country. Another video appears to show Meyer touching the woman’s behind.
Meyer called a team meeting Monday and vowed to “own it,” the motto he uses daily and has plastered all around the Jaguars facility.
“I just apologized to the team and staff for being a distraction,” Meyer told reporters afterward. “Just stupid and so I explained everything that happened and owned it. Just stupid. Should not have put myself in that kind of position.”
Meyer didn’t fly back with his winless team following Jacksonville’s 24-21 loss at Cincinnati on Thursday night. The three-time collegiate national championship-winning coach remained in his home state of Ohio to see family members and went to dinner Friday at his restaurant/bar in Columbus, Urban Meyer’s Pint House.
“I stayed to see the grandkids and we all went to dinner that night,” he said. “There was a big group next to our restaurant and 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 9-second video showed a young blond woman dancing between the 57-year-old Meyer’s legs as he was sitting on a bar stool.
“I’ve always been so defensive of (my players),” he said. “I remember when (rookie quarterback) Trevor (Lawrence) told me he was going to go to Vegas for his bachelor party. I was just like, ‘My gosh, man, be careful and surround yourself because I’ve seen this happen.’
“The team, I spoke to a bunch of leaders one on one, spoke to all the players. They’re good. They’re focused on Tennessee. I apologized again for being a distraction. A coach should not be a distraction.”
Meyer said he also apologized to his family.
“Yeah, yeah, of course I did,” he said. “That’s not me. Oh, yeah, they’re upset.”
The Jaguars (0-4) have lost 19 consecutive games, seven shy of tying the NFL record set by Tampa Bay in 1977. Meyer insists they have shown dramatic improvements since Week 1.
But the epic losing streak ranks fairly low on the list of embarrassing missteps for the franchise since it coaxed Meyer out of retirement in January:
— Meyer hired strength coach Chris Doyle in February despite accusations of racist behavior and then had to let him go a day later because of a pending lawsuit.
— Meyer signed 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow to play tight end, an experiment that ended with Tebow looking lost in the preseason opener against Cleveland.
— Meyer held a fake QB competition between Lawrence, a generational prospect, and Gardner Minshew in training camp. Meyer since traded Minshew to Philadelphia, where he’s a third-stringer behind Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco and inactive every week.
— Jacksonville’s social media team started unfollowing longtime fans critical of the team’s performance following a 37-21 debacle at Houston in the season opener.
— Jacksonville declined to make Meyer available to visiting media in Denver in Week 2, creating some outrage.
— The Jaguars traded two starters — linebacker Joe Schobert and cornerback CJ Henderson — and got little in return. Henderson was the ninth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft.
Meyer said he’s concerned his latest issue could have long-term ramifications with players he hopes buy into his ways to make the team’s rebuild work.
“I have a very good relationship with our players,” he said. “I’ve dealt with this, not on the other side but with staff members and with other things, and I’ve dealt with it. So to say I’m concerned, yeah, I am concerned. But I just got to do right.”
Story by Mark Long, Associated Press