Urban Meyer in the NFL — how’s that sound? Pretty soon, football fans may know if that’s a reality.
According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter earlier in the week, Meyer intends to decide whether he wants to enter the NFL’s coaching ranks before the regular season ends Sunday. He’s been approached by at least two teams, per Schefter, and he did not “dismiss the overtures.” Various reports in the past week have mentioned the Jaguars, Lions and Falcons as at least speculative landing spots for Meyer.
Meyer has been out of coaching since retiring from Ohio State in December 2018. He’s been a part of the Fox Sports pregame show, “Big Noon Kickoff,” for each of the past two seasons. Overall, Meyer was a college head coach for 17 seasons, compiling a 187-32 record with Ohio State, Florida, Utah and Bowling Green. That included three national championships.
Here are some of the latest rumors involving Meyer coming to the NFL.
Urban Meyer NFL rumors
The Jaguars gained the earliest traction in the rumor mill for a couple of reasons. There’s the Florida connection, with Meyer having coached the Gators from 2005 to 2010. More than that, though, is their bright future.
Jacksonville locked up the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft in Week 16, ensuring the right to pick Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The opportunity to coach such a generational talent would certainly have appeal to any coaching candidate.
The Toledo Blade has reported that Meyer has the Jaguars specifically in mind when it comes to making the leap to the NFL.
“The former Ohio State head coach has had exploratory discussions with intermediaries about the Jacksonville Jaguars job,” according to The Toledo Blade.
The Jaguars are currently coached by Doug Marrone, who’s nearly 20 games below .500 in parts of five seasons with Jacksonville. But NFL.com reported the Jaguars are “expected” to move on from Marrone following Week 17 and that Meyer “has been lining up a staff and telling people he’s close to in the football community that he expects to land in Jacksonville.”
The Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn early in the 2020 season, and Raheem Morris has filled in as the interim head coach. That need for a potentially new head man has brought Meyer’s name into links with Atlanta, although there don’t seem to be any reports founded in fact around that.
Atlanta went the college coach route in 2007 with Bobby Petrino from Louisville, and that didn’t work well for the franchise.
If Meyer wound up in Atlanta, he’d have a high-powered offense to work with including Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. But it doesn’t seem the Falcons are a realistic destination unless legitimate reports emerge in the coming days.
The Lions parted ways with Matt Patricia earlier this season and have Darrell Bevell in as the interim head coach. According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, Detroit is one of the teams that could give Meyer serious consideration.
La Canfora notes that Detroit recently added Chris Spielman to their management team, and Spielman played linebacker at Ohio State. That would create at least one small link to Meyer.
On paper, the Lions job likely wouldn’t be as appealing on paper, with Matthew Stafford getting up there in years and a very limited defense currently in place. Detroit is looking at a top-10 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but likely outside the top-5.
Los Angeles Chargers
There haven’t been any substantiated rumors on a Chargers landing for Meyer, but with Anthony Lynn possibly on the way out, it’s not impossible.
The Chargers have a new stadium and a shiny young quarterback in Justin Herbert, which would at least provide the building blocks to build a successful team. But unless firmer reports emerge, it doesn’t appear Meyer will go to L.A.
New York Jets
Like Atlanta and the Chargers, there haven’t been specific reports linking Meyer to the Jets. If New York had held onto the No. 1 pick and the right to draft Lawrence, maybe that’d be different.
Maybe Meyer would like the appeal of a big market after coaching at marquee programs in Florida and Ohio State, but the rumor mill doesn’t seem to be pointing Meyer to the Jets.