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NFL insider casts doubt on Urban Meyer to USC

Matt Johnson

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer is already experiencing the challenges that come with coaching in the NFL and trying to rebuild one of the worst teams in football. Amid a rocky start, many have wondered if a return to college football is in the cards.

There’s a reason Meyer is among the favorites to be the first NFL coach axed. There are already reports of his quick temper causing problems and he’s faced plenty of criticism for moves made and rules broken months into the job.

Speculation about Meyer’s future in the NFL ramped up even more after the USC Trojans fired Clay Helton. With one of the top coaching jobs in college football available, many wondered if a man known for building title contenders would bolt just months into his first NFL job.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer explained why Meyer leaving Jacksonville for the Trojans is unlikely citing the coach’s investment in the franchise and a potential disinterest in recruiting at the college level again.

“Owner Shad Khan paid the freight for the NFL’s largest staff, a blend of college and NFL assistants, and added support staff to line up with what Meyer wanted for his players. Khan’s also building a $150 million practice facility. And all this happened because it was what it was going to take to get Meyer back on the sidelines.”

NFL insider Albert Breer on why Jacksonville Jaguars HC Urban Meyer likely won’t leave

The Jaguars’ commitment to Meyer is significant. Khan reportedly started targeting him to lead the franchise before firing former coach Doug Marrone. Despite criticism for making a mockery of the Rooney Rules, Jacksonville moved quickly to hire Meyer.

It’s a significant investment. The Jaguars signed Meyer to a six-year contract that makes him one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL. On top of that, he was allowed to pick his entire coaching staff, he chose the general manager, makes key roster decisions and a new training facility is being built for his team.

Breer, an Ohio State alum, has followed Meyer’s career closely and spoken to him multiple times. While Meyer was a fantastic recruiter, Breer points to the 57-year-old coach’s recent comments as a sign he might be done recruiting.

“I’m not sure Meyer wants to recruit anymore. In fact, when I asked him last month why he’s still coaching, he brought it up on his own in answering the question…But the relentless nature of recruiting that, like Meyer said, means chasing 16- and 17-year-olds around the clock is a big drawback for a lot of guys.

Coaching at the college level requires a far greater time commitment than being in the NFL. Even with a larger staff around him, Meyer’s time at Ohio State and Florida seemingly put an extreme strain on his health and led to him retiring twice.

But Meyer is also one of the most competitive and driven coaches in sports. After posting a 187-32 record across 17 seasons at the collegiate level, transitioning to the NFL is rough. With the Jaguars likely headed for a 4-13 season, at best, it remains possible that Meyer changes his mind about the USC job.