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Urban Meyer to Make N.F.L. Jump With Jacksonville Jaguars

  • January 15, 2021

Few coaches have enjoyed greater dominance over the college game, where Meyer was 187-32 over 17 years as a head coach and won national championships at Florida and Ohio State with his spread offenses that included quarterback Tim Tebow, the winner of the 2007 Heisman Trophy, and Aaron Hernandez, the star tight end whose pro career ended after he was accused of murder. At Utah, where Meyer was 22-2 in two seasons, he coached Alex Smith, the top pick in the 2005 N.F.L. draft who now plays for the Washington Football Team.

But health troubles publicly trailed Meyer in the last decade of his career in the college ranks. In 2009, he announced that he would resign as Florida’s coach, only to reverse his decision a day later. At the time, he suggested “self-destructive” work habits were having a detrimental effect on his health. After a leave of absence, he went 8-5 the next season and exited Florida, saying it was “what’s best for the University of Florida, my players and myself and my family.”

He was absent from the sideline for just one season before Ohio State hired him and set a proud program toward another stirring run, including a championship in the inaugural season of the College Football Playoff era.

It was at Ohio State, though, that Meyer’s career took its greatest scar. The university suspended Meyer for several games in 2018 after he failed to properly report domestic abuse allegations against an assistant coach and misled reporters about his knowledge of the assistant’s history. When Meyer retired from coaching at the university later that year, he again cited his health.

Still, Meyer remained a deeply appealing prospective coach. He was linked to openings, or potential vacancies, at the University of Southern California and the University of Texas, reportedly resisting the latter in recent months because of his health.

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