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The Jaguars fire Urban Meyer, after a former player says the coach kicked him

Urban Meyer is out as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, after compiling a 2-11 record. A former player, Josh Lambo, says Meyer kicked him and called him names.
Andy Lyons
Getty Images
Urban Meyer is out as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, after compiling a 2-11 record. A former player, Josh Lambo, says Meyer kicked him and called him names.

Urban Meyer's tumultuous stint as an NFL coach is over, after the Jacksonville Jaguars fired him Wednesday night, 13 games into the season. Meyer posted a 2-11 record — and he was fired after a former Jaguars player publicly accused the coach of kicking him and calling him vulgar names.

"I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone," Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a news release about firing Meyer, who won three national championships as a college coach.

Khan fired Meyer shortly after Josh Lambo, the Jaguars' former placekicker, went public with the latest in a string of stories that have depicted Meyer as disrespectful and abusive to his players and staff.

Lambo, who had missed some kicks during preseason games, told the Tampa Bay Times that Meyer mistreated him during a stretching session at practice in August.

"I'm in a lunge position. Left leg forward, right leg back," Lambo said. "Urban Meyer, while I'm in that stretch position, comes up to me and says, 'Hey Dips**t, make your f**king kicks!' And kicks me in the leg."

When Lambo told him never to do that again, he said, Meyer replied that he would do it any time he liked.

Lambo, 31, was cut by the Jaguars in October. He's the most accurate kicker in the franchise's history, having made 91.6% of the field goals he attempted for Jacksonville. Among many Jaguars fans, Lambo is now being hailed as a hero for speaking up – and for helping to get Meyer fired.

Meyer had been on thin ice in Jacksonville since at least October, when Khan chastised him for his behavior during a road trip for a game in Ohio. After a Thursday night loss to Cincinnati, Meyer stayed in the area rather than travel home with his team — and a viral video emerged that weekend showing Meyer sitting on a bar stool, with a young woman dancing very close to his lap. A second video showed Meyer apparently touching the woman.

Meyer apologized for that off-field incident. But his coaching was also intensely criticized, after reports recently emerged that Meyer said in a staff meeting that his assistant coaches are all losers. Another report described a heated argument with wide receiver Marvin Jones.

"As I stated in October, regaining our trust and respect was essential. Regrettably, it did not happen," Khan said as he announced Meyer's exit.

Meyer was unable to win in the NFL despite the arrival of quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 pick of the 2021 draft who was heralded as the franchise's savior.

In a sign of how eager Jacksonville is to move on from the Meyer era, Khan's statement began not with news of the coach being fired, but by naming his replacement. Darrell Bevell will be the interim head coach for the remaining four games of the season.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.