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Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan's spokesman says the decision to fire Urban Meyer early Thursday morning had already been determined before former kicker Josh Lambo went public with his allegation that the coach had kicked him during a practice in August.
But with one embarrassing incident after the next and with the Lambo revelation to the Tampa Bay Times being published Wednesday, it appeared to be the final straw that prompted the team's decision to fire Meyer.
''The decision by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan to dismiss Urban Meyer was made the evening of Dec. 12. It was determined to wait until the conclusion of previously scheduled appointments that week to make the announcement,'' spokesman Jim Woodcock said in a statement released on Friday night.
''Those appointments included an employee staff luncheon and meeting with Jacksonville media, both to recognize the 10th anniversary of Shad’s purchase of the Jaguars, on Monday, December 13, as well as NFL meetings in Dallas on December 14 and 15. The announcement was made at 12:35 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, Dec. 16, to provide coaches and staff alike a fresh start upon reporting to the stadium that morning.''
Woodcock also said the dismissal was not triggered by the Lambo story in the Times.
''To repeat from Shad’s official statement, the decision was reached 'after deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban’s tenure with our team,' ” Woodcock said.
Lambo said he reported the incident to his agent, Richard Irvin, who contacted the Jaguars’ legal counsel the day after Meyer kicked him. But Lambo told the Times that he no recollection of being able to speak with the Jaguars’ legal team.
The Jaguars released a statement confirming that they knew about incident from Lambo's agent and their legal team offered to speak with Lambo or assist him in speaking with the coaching staff or any other football personnel.
The Jaguars released Lambo in October after current kicker Matthew Wright sealed his spot on the roster when he made a last-second 53-yard field goal to lift Jacksonville to a 23-20 victory against the Miami Dolphins in London that snapped its 20-game losing streak, the second-longest in franchise history.
Lambo was one of the most successful kickers in Jaguars' franchise history, making 91.6% of his field goal attempts (76 of 83) in 46 career games. Lambo had never missed a field-goal attempt at TIAA Bank Field until this season, making 41 in a row.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Urban Meyer firing decision made before kicker Josh Lambo's allegation