Shad Khan blames Urban Meyer; was Jaguars owner really surprised coach was a scoundrel?

David Whitley
Gator Sports
View Comments

Shad Khan wants to write the obituary for Urban Meyer’s NFL coaching career. Cause of death:

Urban Meyer. 

It seems — and I hope you’re sitting down when you learn this — that Meyer was not the most honest of employees. So the Jacksonville Jaguars owner had to fire his coach.

“When you lose the respect, the trust and an issue of truthfulness, how can you work with someone like that?” Khan told USA TODAY.

You can’t. But that’s not half the story with the Jaguars.

If Khan wants history to accurately record how Jacksonville has become the NFL’s longest-running joke, he needs to ask another question.

Who was the genius who hired Meyer?

David Whitley:Feel that draft? Georgia blows away competition with 15 NFL draft picks

Listen in:How did the Jacksonville Jaguars do in the draft? Gene Frenette will tell you

More Whitley:Should Florida football players get parking perks? Yes, they earned them

Shad Khan doesn't have great record for hiring coaches

According to reports, it was the same guy who hired Mike Mularkey, Gus Bradley and Doug Marrone. The Three Stooges look like the Three Wise Men compared to our old pal Urban, but that hardly lets Khan off the hook.

What Jags’ fan could forget those heady days of 2012, when the new owner introduced Mularkey as his first coach.

“I’ve got a huge amount of confidence that this decision is going to serve the Jaguars and Jacksonville well in the future,” Khan said.

Mularkey went 2-14 and his future was over after one year.

Khan was much more patient with his next two hires. They may have gone 37-91, but at least they weren’t videotaped groping a saucy young blonde at a bar they own.

“I have nothing but the utmost respect and friendship with them. That’s why they got the time, because it wasn’t a matter about respect or truth,” Khan said. “It was a matter of wins and losses over four years. This is much bigger than that.”

This was Meyer doing things that destroy respect and trust.

Khan didn’t specify what those things were. Maybe it was the lap dance seen 'round the world. Or calling his assistant coaches “losers.” Or kicking his kicker during practice.

Meyer’s denied doing that. He's had to deny a lot of things over the years. So much that you wonder if Khan has ever heard of this thing called Google?

Why didn't Jags do their homework?

Type “Urban Meyer” into the search field and it won’t be long until “Urban Liar" takes over the screen.

When it comes to character, Meyer lost me when he ripped into a reporter after a UF spring practice in 2010. While comparing the rambling, scrambling style of departed Tim Tebow to new starter John Brantley, receiver Deonte Thompson had said Brantley was a “real quarterback.”

Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel was among many reporters who used the quote, correctly and in context. For some reason, Meyer lit into Fowler, repeatedly calling him a “bad guy” for reporting what a player said.

That from a coach whose program was largely built on guys who spent more time in Alachua County holding cells than UF classrooms. A coach Ohio State later suspended for three games for not upholding “the values of the university.”

David Whitley:Dummies learned Urban Meyer wasn't smart enough to change his stripes

Finds from Florida in later rounds:These Gators weren't top draft picks, but they turned into standout NFL players

Hiring Meyer means you’ll have to rationalize your principles and look the other way. But hey, at least you got a national championship or two in the process.

The Jaguars got two wins and worse publicity than the Russian Army. Though at this point, I must again admit I thought Meyer would be smart enough to adapt and succeed in pro ball.

Memo to Roger Goodell — If I ever buy an NFL team, do not allow me to hire the coach.

Khan should do the same to avoid further embarrassment. With Meyer, all it would have taken is remembering the fable of the scorpion and the frog.

The scorpion asked the frog to carry it across the river, and assured Mr. Frog it wouldn’t sting him since that would doom them both. Halfway across, the scorpion stung the frog. The dying frog asked why.

“It’s my nature,” the scorpion said. “I couldn’t resist the urge to lie, cheat, sign Tim Tebow as a tight end, grope groupies and make you regret ever meeting me.”

It’s all over now except for the legal shouting. Meyer signed a five-year deal worth a reported $9 million annually. The Jags don’t want to pay him another dime, but Meyer wants some or all of the remaining money.

If it goes to court, Khan might not want to rhetorically ask, “How can you work with someone like that?”

The better question is “How could you hire someone like that?”

David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at dwhitley@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWhitley

View Comments