JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said he never considered resigning in the wake of two viral videos that emerged showing him with at least one woman who was not his wife at his restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.
But he did apologize again Wednesday, once to players and staff in a full team meeting in the morning and again to the fans to close his regularly scheduled news conference. Meyer also said he supported owner Shad Khan’s public rebuke of his actions.
“I had at least three or four conversations with Shad. The message is loud and clear, and I agree with [it],” Meyer said. “Also met with the team on Monday, individually, and then today [as a group]. Had a very pointed conversation with them, owning a stupid mistake that I made. A job of a coach is … No. 1, health and safety of a player. No. 2 is motivate them or bring out the greatness in them. And No. 3 is give them everything possible to be successful and give them a great locker room and then get the heck out of the way.
“And I apologize for a distraction with a huge week coming up, especially after they made so much improvement from Week 1 to Week 4.”
“I know a lot of the guys respected it, how he addressed this this morning,” said Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. “Obviously it’s not an easy situation and you don’t want to be in this situation, but I think he’s done right by us and it was a good meeting this morning, just up front with us, apologized.”
Meyer, 57, first apologized Monday morning for his actions on Friday, one day after the Jaguars’ 24-21 loss at Cincinnati. Meyer said he and family members went to his restaurant — Urban Meyer’s Pint House in Columbus — and that people at a nearby event asked to take photos with him. Meyer said he should have left when people tried to get him to dance with them.
A nine-second video showing Meyer sitting with his back to the bar in an Ohio State pullover while a young woman danced close to his lap was posted to social media Saturday night. Roughly an hour after his Monday news conference, however, another video emerged on social media that appeared to show Meyer touching a woman’s bottom while he was sitting at the bar. The woman appeared to be wearing the same clothes — jeans and a white top — as the woman in the first viral video.
That prompted Khan to issue a public reprimand on Tuesday.
“I have addressed this matter with Urban. Specifics of our conversation will be held in confidence,” Khan said in a statement. “What I will say is his conduct last weekend was inexcusable. I appreciate Urban’s remorse, which I believe is sincere. Now, he must regain our trust and respect. That will require a personal commitment from Urban to everyone who supports, represents or plays for our team. I am confident he will deliver.”
Meyer said Wednesday that he met with each position group individually on Monday because it was a more intimate setting in which to apologize rather than in an entire team meeting.
“I wanted to get in their space,” Meyer said. “I have a good relationship with this whole team. I’m not a big team meeting guy. I do a lot of it that way, where I’ll go to, you know, the running backs, where there’s a group of four. Team meetings are very … it’s just a big environment.
“In my opinion, you don’t get much done in a team meeting. You get a lot done when you’re in personal space with people. I’ve always done that.”
Meyer also said that Khan did not fine him nor has he been contacted by anyone in the NFL’s front office. He said eight to 10 members of the Jaguars’ leadership council called him over the past several days to offer their support.
“They were over-the-top supportive and said, ‘We got you, man. We moved forward,'” Meyer said. “A common thing was, ‘Coach, we all did stupid things.'”
“We all really appreciate him, but we all know we all got a job to do,” said Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen. “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.
“We’re ready to play. He’s got our back, and we’re going to have his back. That’s how we going.”
Said Lawrence: “I feel good about our team. Nothing’s changed. We’re still really tight, so we’re just looking forward to playing the Titans this weekend and getting back on track.
“He’s still my head coach. I still respect him, regardless of what happens.”
Meyer also said he still has a strong relationship with his wife, Shelley, and they can move beyond what happened.
“I don’t want to get into our personal life, but 37 years we’ve been together and it’s been awesome, man,” Meyer said. “And this speed bump’s not going to get in the way of that.”
Meyer closed his news conference by apologizing to the fans.
“I would just like to say also to the 904 and Duval and our owner, you know, like, ‘Why did I decide to come out of what I was doing and do this?'” Meyer said.
“Jacksonville, I know very well. I know our fans have been hanging in there with us, and I apologize to them and want to make that perfectly clear.”