The final nail in the coffin of Urban Meyer’s disastrous tenure in Jacksonville was a story by Rick Stroud in the Tampa Bay Times in which the coach was accused of kicking his former kicker, Josh Lambo. Stroud said on Monday that he was threatened by Meyer’s legal team in advance of publishing that piece.
Appearing on the “Rich Eisen Show,” Stroud said that the Jaguars had been aware of the incident since Lambo reported it to the franchise in August when it happened.
“Nobody is disagreeing the event happened,” Stroud said. “It’s just to what degree. If we’re talking about how hard he kicked a guy, that’s not a great argument on his behalf.”
Stroud went on to explain the mindset of the team when he was looking for confirmation of the kicking incident.
“When I did the story, they were in crisis mode in Jacksonville,” Stroud said, “I had a lot of conversations with them. They begged me to hold the story till 4 o’clock. I got a statement from their legal counsel first. I got a threatening letter from [Meyer’s] attorney about publishing the story without certain information. We waited for their statement.”
On a follow-up question from Eisen, Stroud reiterated that the issue wasn’t whether Meyer had kicked Lambo, but how hard.
“They wanted to offer up a couple players, but only off the record, to corroborate not that he didn’t kick [Lambo], but the degree of which he kicked him,” Stroud said.
“It’s funny, because during this whole drip-drip-drip process, everybody was using sources. ‘Who are these people? If I catch him he’s gone tomorrow.’ You hear this stuff from the Jaguars organization. Then when their guy’s under fire, they want to offer up unnamed sources and players that will back the coach, which is fine except that this was a guy who showed enough courage to put his name on the incident and was willing to speak on the record.”
Lambo, who was released after missing all three of his field-goal attempts this season, characterized the kick from Meyer as a “five (out of 10).”
Stroud wasn’t buying the organizational explanation that the team had already planned to fire Meyer before his story broke, because if that was the case why let him game plan through the middle of the week?
Aside from Jimmy Johnson, who said that Meyer was “backstabbed” by his assistant coaches, Meyer has had few defenders throughout this ordeal. Rex Ryan, former coach of the Bills and Jets, said on ESPN over the weekend that Meyer — a highly successful college coach — was not equipped to coach in the “men’s league” that is the NFL.