Before he lost his job as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Urban Meyer refuted Josh Lambo's account that he kicked him during a team practice.
On Monday, the reporter who broke the news said that Meyer's lawyers acknowledged that the ex-coach actually did kick the former Jaguars kicker. They only attempted to dispute how hard he kicked him, according to Rick Stroud. The Tampa Bay Times reporter made the revelation on "The Rich Eisen Show" while detailing frantic moments leading up to the publication of the story that preceded Meyer's firing by hours.
Stroud: Meyer's lawyer sent threatening letter
Stroud told Eisen that Meyer's lawyer reached out with a threatening letter to attempt to thwart the publication before offering up sources who would tell him that Meyer didn't kick Lambo that hard.
The details on Urban Meyer's final days as Jaguars head coach are FASCINATING — Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) told us what he was dealing with behind the scenes before his story with the Josh Lambo news dropped last week:#NFL pic.twitter.com/mg2efYWyjp
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) December 20, 2021
"They reached out — they wanted to offer up a couple of players, but only off the record — to corroborate — not that he didn’t kick him, but to the degree of which he kicked him," Stroud said.
Meyer described Lambo's story as 'inaccurate,' didn't deny kick
Meyer initially described Lambo's accusation that he kicked him as "inaccurate" in a statement to the Times for Stroud's story. But he didn't directly deny kicking Lambo.
"Josh’s characterization of me and this incident is completely inaccurate, and there are eyewitnesses to refute his account,” Meyer told the Times.
What Lambo said happened
Here's how Lambo described the alleged incident, which he said occurred during a preseason practice after he missed multiple kicks in preseason games:
“I’m in a lunge position," Lambo told the Times. "Left leg forward, right leg back. ... Urban Meyer, while I’m in that stretch position, comes up to me and says, ‘Hey dips***, make your f***ing kicks.’ And kicks me in the leg.
“It certainly wasn’t as hard as he could’ve done it, but it certainly wasn’t a love tap. Truthfully, I’d register it as a five (out of 10). Which in the workplace, I don’t care if it’s football or not, the boss can’t strike an employee."
Stroud: 'No one said that he didn't kick him'
Stroud told Eisen that every witness he spoke with acknowledged that Meyer kicked Lambo. Like with Meyer's lawyers, the only question among them was over how hard Meyer kicked him.
"Urban's statement which was included in our report said there were witnesses who would back his story," Stroud said. "But again, the ones I talked to — all we were talking about was to the degree with which he kicked him, not that he didn't kick him. ... No one said that he he didn't kick him."
Stroud described the Jaguars as in "scramble mode" on the day of the publication and that the team asked the Times to delay publishing the story. The Jaguars released statements after dismissing Meyer that the decision to fire Meyer was made by owner Shad Khan after the previous Sunday's 20-0 loss to the Tennessee Titans and had nothing to do with the report that Meyer kicked Lambo.
"This doesn't sound like a guy that the owner had fired on Sunday" Stroud said on Monday.