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Kicker sues Jaguars, alleging Urban Meyer had hostile work environment

The Jaguars are accused of fostering a hostile work environment under former coach Urban Meyer. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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Josh Lambo, the former Jacksonville Jaguars kicker who alleged that he was kicked and verbally abused by then-coach Urban Meyer, has filed a lawsuit against the team, seeking more than $3.5 million in lost salary and additional damages for emotional distress.

In the lawsuit, filed in the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court in Florida’s Duval County per the Tampa Bay Times, Lambo’s lawyers accuse Meyer and the team of fostering a hostile work environment, saying his release after reporting the incident to the team’s legal counsel violated the state’s Private Sector Whistleblower’s Act.

In a December story also from the Times, Lambo alleged Meyer kicked him in the leg as he was stretching during warmups before practice the week of the final preseason game.

According to Lambo, Meyer said, “Hey dips---, make your f---ing kicks” and kicked him in the leg, describing the severity of the kick as a five on a 1-to-10 scale. Lambo recounted to the Times that he replied to Meyer, “Don’t you ever f---ing kick me again.” To that, Lambo said Meyer told him: “I’m the head ball coach. I’ll kick you whenever the f--- I want.”

The lawsuit alleges Lambo, the most accurate kicker in Jaguars history, told his agent, Richard Irvin, about the incident, and Irvin notified the Jaguars’ legal counsel the next day. Lambo had missed two field goal attempts in the preseason, but he made two in the team’s final preseason game.

In Jacksonville’s first two regular season games, he missed all three of his attempts. After missing two extra-point tries in Week 3, he was replaced by Matthew Wright, who made the team’s first three field goals of the 2021 season in its 23-20 Oct. 17 win in London, a victory that snapped the Jaguars’ 20-game losing streak. Two days later, Lambo was released.

A timeline of Urban Meyer’s calamitous Jaguars tenure

Lambo alleges his performance declined after his interaction with Meyer, who, according to the lawsuit, threatened to release him.

Irvin and the Jaguars confirmed in December that the team’s legal counsel had been contacted and offered Lambo the opportunity to meet. However, Lambo told the Times then that he had “no recollection of being able to speak with the Jags’ legal team.”

“Jaguars legal counsel indeed acknowledged and responded immediately to the query made by Josh Lambo’s agent Friday, Aug. 27, 2021,” the Jaguars said in a statement Tuesday to the Times. “Counsel offered to speak with Josh, or to assist Josh in speaking with coaching or any other football personnel, if he was comfortable with her sharing the information. Any suggestion otherwise is blatantly false.”

Within hours after the Times’ report on the incident, Meyer was fired, 13 games into his NFL coaching career. He denied Lambo’s account at the time.

Lambo, the Times reported, is seeking a jury trial and back pay from his 2021 salary (slated to be $3.5 million), in addition to compensation for emotional stress, damage to his reputation and legal fees. He was to earn $4 million in 2022 with the team.

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