After being fired by the Jacksonville Jaguars early Thursday morning, former head coach Urban Meyer broke his silence and was apologetic for the amount of negativity the franchise endured during his tenure.
"I just apologize to Jacksonville," Meyer told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com Friday in an exclusive interview. "I love Jacksonville. It's one of the reasons I took the job. I still think Shad's a great owner. It's heart-breaking."
Meyer didn't make it through his first season in Jacksonville, coaching the team to a 2-11 record and getting fired with four years remaining on his contract. Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement, "I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone."
One of the incidents that sullied Meyer's tenure occurred after his decision not to fly back to Jacksonville with the team after its Week 4 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Meyer was seen on video in an Ohio bar with a woman who is not his wife dancing near his lap.
NFL.com's Tom Pelissero reported last Saturday that tensions between Meyer and the Jaguars players had "boiled over." Pelissero cited an argument between Meyer and veteran wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. in which the captain angrily left the team facility. Pelissero also relayed that Meyer referred to his assistant coaches as "losers" during a staff meeting.
This week, former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo disclosed to the Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud details of an altercation in which Meyer allegedly kicked him while he was warming up during a preseason practice.
Meyer told Rapoport that the argument with Jones was "not accurately portrayed." He also denied calling his assistants "losers" and said the incident with Lambo didn't happen.
"It was like, 'Wait a minute, where is this coming from?'" Meyer said. "I've certainly made a few mistakes but those weren't right."
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as interim head coach for the Jaguars. Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence told reporters this week that the outside noise surrounding Meyer was affecting the team.
"I wouldn't say 'relief,' but it brings some clarity and some direction moving forward," Lawrence said. "We really want to go and finish this season strong. To be honest, it's been hard the last week with everything going on."
The Jaguars will face the Houston Texans, who are also 2-11, on Sunday at home.