JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Urban Meyer is ready to move on. So are his players and his family.
The Jacksonville Jaguars coach publicly apologized for the third consecutive day Wednesday and said he never considered resigning after his “inexcusable” behavior at an Ohio bar was caught on camera and released on social media.
Meyer added that several members of the team’s leadership council, a group of players who serve as liaisons between the coach and the locker room, have expressed their support.
“I had at least eight to 10 phone calls where they called me and they were over-the-top supportive and said, ‘We got you, man. Move forward,’” Meyer said. “A common thing was, ‘Coach, we all did stupid things.’ I’m really impressed with our guys.”
Team owner Shad Khan publicly reprimanded the 57-year-old Meyer on Tuesday for his actions at the bar last weekend.
Meyer said they had three or four conversations in which Khan told Meyer he must regain everyone’s trust and respect. Meyer said “the message is loud and clear.”
Meyer’s troubles started Friday at his restaurant/bar, the Urban Chop House in Columbus, Ohio. Meyer made the odd decision to stay behind in his hometown state following Jacksonville’s 24-21 loss at Cincinnati on Thursday and had dinner with his family the next night.
Meyer said he ended up joining a party next door and was later captured on camera with a young woman. One clip showed the woman dancing close to Meyer’s lap as he sits on a bar stool. A second, more damning video appears to show Meyer touching the woman’s behind.
Meyer apologized to players in respective position groups Monday and said he was sorry again during his weekly radio show Tuesday. He offered another apology during a team meeting Wednesday, saying he let down his family and his players.
“I know most of the team feels this way: He’s still my head coach. I still respect him, regardless of what happens,” rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. “Like I said, we’re a team and we’re figuring it out. So, yeah, we’re all good.”
Added third-year linebacker Josh Allen: “He has owned it, just like we all do. He’s a great coach, he’s a great man and he’s gonna bounce back and we all gonna bounce back.
“We’re going to play even harder for him, you know I’m saying? We’re ready to play. He’s got our back, and we’re going to have his back. That’s how we going.”
The Jaguars (0-4) host Tennessee (2-2) on Sunday, trying to end a 19-game losing streak that is tied for the second longest in NFL history.
Meyer tried to clear up any remaining loose ends Wednesday. He said he told general manager Trent Baalke about his plan to stay behind in Ohio, and several players didn’t even notice he was missing on the plane ride back to Jacksonville. Meyer also defended his decision to apologize in small groups Monday.
“In my opinion, you don’t get much done in a team meeting,” he said. “You get a lot done when you’re in personal space with people. I’ve always done that.”
Meyer said he hasn’t heard from the league office and added that Khan did not fine him.
Meyer remains concerned about how the incident will affect his credibility on the sideline and in the locker room, adding he’s spent countless hours trying to make sure he’s no longer a distraction.
“I’m in a fight to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Meyer said. “As of now, no, I don’t see that one bit.”
His family, meanwhile, seems ready to move on. Meyer sounded as if he and his wife, Shelley, are going to be fine.
“I don’t want to get into our personal life, but 37 years we’ve been together and it’s been awesome, man,” he said. “And this speed bump’s not going to get in the way of that.”
His youngest daughter, Gigi, also went public to show her support.
“We’re good. As a family, we’re good,” Gigi Meyer posted in an Instagram story. “The reality of it is as much as our lives might seems different than everybody else’s, we’re still human. We have human things that we deal with, and this is one of those things.
“But the good news is we know my dad and we know his character, and he’s literally the most incredible person I know in my entire life and I still hold true to that truth. That is my truth. Doesn’t have to be your truth, but that is my truth and I am sticking to it. We’ve all decided we’re going to move on. We’re moving on, and life is good.”
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