Sources say Jacksonville fired former Utah coach Urban Meyer for cause, Jags don’t intend to pay

Sports

FILE – Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer watches his team warm up before the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. Urban Meyer’s tumultuous NFL tenure ended after just 13 games — and two victories — when the Jacksonville Jaguars fired him early Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021 because of an accumulation of missteps (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer was fired for cause and the team does not intend to pay him for the final four years remaining on his contract, a person familiar with the termination told The Associated Press.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Saturday because neither side has publicly discussed details of Meyer’s termination. It remains unclear how much Meyer made annually. ESPN first reported Meyer being fired for cause.

Owner Shad Khan dismissed Meyer early Thursday after weeks of analysis that focused on Meyer’s mounting public blunders and even more missteps behind the scenes. The person said firing Meyer for cause was not tied to any one incident during his 11-month tenure. The Jaguars seemingly have plenty of evidence, none more damning than Meyer getting caught on video acting inappropriately with a woman at an Ohio bar in early September.

Florida is an “at-will” employment state, meaning employers or employees can terminate employment at any time and without any advance warning. That could make it tougher for Meyer to prove he was wrongly fired or should be owed the remainder of his contract.

It’s common for disputes regarding negated guarantees to be negotiated by the two sides in hopes of finding an amicable resolution that would avoid a lengthy and potentially expensive legal battle.

The Jaguars (2-11) host Houston (2-11) on Sunday, with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell serving as interim coach. Bevell got the nod over assistant head coach Charlie Strong because he has previous experience as an NFL head coach; he went 1-4 as Detroit’s interim coach last season.

A spokesman for Khan told The Associated Press on Friday that the decision to move on from Meyer was initially made following Jacksonville’s 20-0 loss at Tennessee on Sunday. A conversation Khan and Meyer had in the locker room after that shutout — Meyer had few answers for the team’s woes or how he planned to fix them — sealed a decision Khan had been mulling for weeks.

Khan waited several days to finally pull the plug on Meyer because he had a scheduled media event on his yacht Monday and was at the NFL owners’ meetings in Dallas on Tuesday and Wednesday. He also attended an All-Elite Wrestling show Wednesday night in Dallas. Shad Khan and his son Tony own the wrestling league.

The Jaguars ended up firing Meyer early Thursday, hours after former kicker Josh Lambo accused Meyer of kicking him during an August practice. Connecting that report by a Florida newspaper, which the Jaguars haven’t disputed, to Khan’s announcement made sense. But the Jaguars insist it was more coincidental than causative.

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