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The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to deal with the fallout from Urban Meyer’s disastrous tenure last season.
Former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the 4th Judicial Circuit Court in Duval County, Florida, seeking payment of his $3.5 million salary in 2021, along with damages for emotional distress caused by Meyer, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Josh Lambo #4 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on prior to a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Dec. 22, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
“After deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban’s tenure with our team, I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone,” Khan said, according to a December statement on the team’s website. “I informed Urban of the change this evening. As I stated in October, regaining our trust and respect was essential. Regrettably, it did not happen.”
Meyer reportedly signed a deal worth $10-12 million a year, which the Jaguars don’t plan on paying because they say the coach was fired for cause.
The lawsuit claims that because Lambo reported the incident to the team’s legal counsel, his release violated Florida’s Private Sector Whistle Blower’s Act. The Jaguars offered to speak with Lambo, but he claims “there was no recollection of being able to speak with the legal team,” according to the lawsuit.
Josh Lambo #4 of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts a field goal during the game against the Denver Broncos at TIAA Bank Field on September 19, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Lambo, who missed a field-goal attempt in each of Jacksonville’s first two preseason games, was approached by Meyer before the final exhibition game at Dallas. Lambo said he was stretching when Meyer kicked him in the leg and said, “Hey dips—, make your fu–ing kicks!”
After Lambo told Meyer to never hit him again, he said Meyer’s response was: “I’m the head ball coach. I’ll kick you whenever the f— I want.”
The lawsuit claims that an employer who physically strikes an employee at work before threatening to do so again in response to resistance is acting illegally under state civil and criminal law.
It also claims the incident with Meyer impacted Lambo’s ability to sleep, practice and perform at the level he was accustomed to in his seven seasons in the NFL.
“Mr. Meyer’s hostility had the intended effect on Mr. Lambo, resulting in Mr. Lambo uncharacteristically missing difficult and long kicks from the ranges of fifty-five yards, fifty-two yards, and fifty-eight yards,” the lawsuit stated, according to the outlet.
Prior to his firing, Meyer claimed the incident didn’t happen the way Lambo described it.
Josh Lambo #4 of the Jacksonville Jaguars reacts after kicking a 59 yard field goal at the end of the first half against the Houston Texans at TIAA Bank Field on November 08, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
“Josh’s characterization of me and this incident is completely inaccurate, and there are eyewitnesses to refute his account,” Meyer said. “(General manager) Trent (Baalke) and I met with him on multiple occasions to encourage his performance, and this was never brought up. I was fully supportive of Josh during his time with the team and wish him nothing but the best.”
The lawsuit was filed as the Jaguars have a fresh start this season under new head coach Doug Pederson, who led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in February 2018. The team selected Trevor Lawrence and Travon Walker with the No. 1 overall pick in the last two drafts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report