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Urban Meyer apologizes to Jaguars for ‘stupid’ incident caught on viral video

Jaguars Coach Urban Meyer watches his team in the second half of Thursday's game against the Bengals. (Michael Conroy/AP)
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Jacksonville Jaguars Coach Urban Meyer apologized Monday to his “team and staff for being a distraction” for what he said was a “stupid” incident in which a viral video showed him in a bar with a young woman dancing against him.

The coach of the 0-4 Jaguars was in his restaurant in Ohio on Friday night, with tweets showing him posing with friends. However, a candid moment surfaced of him and the unidentified woman and, although it was deleted, it lived on the Internet and the public relations damage was done.

Saying it was “stupid,” Meyer told reporters during his Monday news conference that “I explained everything that happened and owned it. … I should not have myself in that kind of position.”

The Jaguars had been in Ohio for a Thursday night game and suffered what Meyer had described as a “heartbreaking” 24-21 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati. As is typical after a Thursday night game, players were given the weekend off and were to return to the team facility Monday. They had flown back to Jacksonville after the game, but the 57-year-old Meyer, who is in his first season as an NFL head coach, remained behind. An Ohio native who coached at Ohio State, he attended college at Cincinnati and owns restaurants in Columbus and Dublin.

“I stayed to see the grandkids, and we all went to dinner that night at the restaurant,” he explained. “There was a big group next to our restaurant, and they wanted me to come over to take pictures and I did. They tried to pull me on the dance floor screwing around, and I should have left.”

Asked whether he had apologized to his family, Meyer said, “Of course I did,” and described them as “upset.” His wife, Shelley, had tweeted an image showing her babysitting Friday evening and wrote, “Buddy Deserved a Night Out.”

Meyer said he had spoken to team leaders one-on-one, to Jaguars owner Shad Khan and General Manager Trent Baalke and to the team as a whole. He described Khan and Baalke as supportive. “I’ve always been so defensive of [players],” he said. “I remember when [quarterback Trevor Lawrence] told me he was going to go to Vegas for his bachelor party. I was just like, ‘Gosh, be careful and surround yourself because I’ve seen this happen.’ ”

Meyer admitted he is concerned about dealing with players who might be involved in a similar situation. “I am concerned, but I’ve just got to do right,” he said.