Urban Meyer was fired as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars at 12:35 a.m. ET on Thursday morning following a 2-11 start to his first season as an NFL head coach. Meyer’s maiden voyage was filled with controversy, bad press, interior strife, and some pretty public missteps.

But it also featured more losses in one season (11) than Meyer had as the head coach at Ohio State in 7 years combined (9).

Meyer gave an exclusive interview to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Saturday during which he explained why he took the Jags job in the first place and apologized to the city of Jacksonville for his failures as the coach.

“I just apologize to Jacksonville,” Meyer told Rapoport. “I love Jacksonville. It’s one of the reasons I took the job. I still think Shad (Khan)’s a great owner. It’s heart-breaking. I just had a dream of it becoming a destination place with a new facility he agreed to build and some day to walk into that stadium where it’s standing room only. Because I know how bad the people of Jacksonville want it. So, I’m just heartbroken that we weren’t able to do that. I still believe it’s going to be done. It’s too good of a place.”

Jacksonville has lost 26 of its last 29 NFL games and, with a 2-11 record so far this year, is guaranteed to have its 10th losing season in the last 11 years. With the No. 1 pick in last year’s NFL Draft and Meyer coming aboard, there was hope the Jaguars could show some positives, but Meyer’s first season has been rocky every step of the way.

“I tell people, losing eats away at your soul,” Meyer said. “Once you start losing, it’s hard on everybody. I thought at one point, when we won 2 out of 3, there was some momentum, great energy, the defense was really playing well. We were running the ball and then when that dried up on us, then we started turning the ball over. We had that bye week and then James Robinson gets hurt.”

Asked about a postgame handshake gone viral with Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel, a former Ohio State assistant, after last week’s 20-0 loss to the Titans, Meyer said the stress of losing just got to him.

“We’re really close,” Meyer said. “That had nothing to do with (Vrabel). That’s probably one of my issues why I’ve thought some of the things I said: I can’t take losing. I try to accept it, it just eats away at my soul. And I believe our players deserve better.”

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