Urban Meyer addresses health concerns in first press conference

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James Johnson
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Urban Meyer was introduced to the nation as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ coach Friday — and his press conference didn’t disappoint. There were several takeaways from the process, but the biggest question on everyone’s mind was his health.

As many can recall, health concerns are part of the reason Meyer says he left his last two coaching jobs in Florida and Ohio State as the stress of running elite programs can take its toll. However, part of Meyer’s plan is to create as stress-free of an environment as possible through his staffing, who he’s going to allow to do their jobs when it comes to practice and preparation.

“I’m older and it’s [health] something I’m going to be conscientious of,” said Meyer. “It’s something I’m going to watch very closely. I will be the head coach, but I’m going to hire great coaches that are going to be expected to do their job. I’m not going to be running around like a nut on the practice field, those days are gone.”

That was one of many times Meyer mentioned the importance of staffing, even going as far as saying he wanted an “elite” group around him. That certainly sounds like a good idea as it would allow him to be more of a supervisor for the franchise than a coach.

So far, Meyer’s actions have reflected that he could let his coordinators do some of the heavy lifting, which could allow him to take it as easy as possible on the practice field. He already has one of his mentors, Scott Linehan, in mind to potentially take the Jags’ offensive coordinator role, which would help with chemistry and preparation. While it’s unknown who will be the Jags’ defense (maybe Raheem Morris) and special teams coordinators, Linehan is an example of the assistants he needs in his top roles.

When asked about his comfort level with coaching after the issues he’s had, Meyer made it known that he’s researched his brain issues deeply and is curious about some of the preventative measures he can take while coaching.

“There’s not too much to share, to be honest with you,” said Meyer. “It’s well documented what happened in ’14 and then ’17 and ’18. I’m very curious about the preventative [measures I can take] and that’s what I’ve looked into in great detail. I’m talking about the headache issue I’ve dealt with. That’s something that I’m going to watch closely. I’ve had long detailed conversations with people that helped me through that, the physicians that are very close to me.”

One thing that’s clear is that owner Shad Khan trusts Meyer with the future of his team. Only time will tell if he can endure the hurdles provided by the NFL, but the gamble is one Meyer and the Jags seem willing to take.