Meyer Shoots Down Any NFL Interest
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer has never interviewed for an NFL head coaching job and, barring a drastic change of heart, he never will.
Photo by Jim Davidson
That doesn’t mean he never gave it any thought.
The 48-year old Ashtabula native is in his first real offseason as head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, his favorite school as a kid and the school his dad, Bud, taught him to love at a young age.
Maybe he will stay in Columbus forever, winning national championship after national championship. Or maybe he will start a new 10 Year War, not only with Brady Hoke up at Michigan, but also with Nick Saban and his old buddies down in the SEC.
It was there, as head coach of the Florida Gators, where Meyer became a household name in college football. He hoisted a pair of crystal footballs during his six years in Gainesville, and started the run of BCS national championships for the Southeastern Conference.
He also caught the attention of the National Football League.
“I got a couple phone calls early in my Florida days asking if I'd be interested,” Meyer said last week during his appearance on The Dan Patrick Show.
“There was a time where I made some phone calls and had some conversations about it, but never to the point where I got very serious about it. I love college football and I made that decision that that's where I wanted to be.”
At the time, no one was running anything in the NFL that even resembled Meyer’s offense at Florida. In fact, he has said a number of times that one of the reasons he loves the college game is the fact there are so many different ideas and concepts being used around the country.
The NFL has always been a buttoned-up league where most teams are afraid to go away from what is working across the league. We’re just now starting to see a little bit of change in that way of thinking, with coaches like Ron River at Carolina and Mike Shanahan at Washington running more college-style offenses to fit their young, talented quarterbacks.
The League seemed to sour on the idea of bringing in college coaches to run their organization after guys like Lou Holtz, Pete Carroll, Steve Spurrier and Butch Davis failed in their first attempts to make a jump to the pro level.
Now that guys like Carroll and Jim Harbaugh, who coached at Stanford two years ago, are having the kind success they had this year, teams are more open than ever to bringing in a college coach.
Tampa Bay paid big bucks to lure Greg Schiano away from Rutgers this past offseason, while guys like Chip Kelly (Oregon), Bill O’Brien (Penn State) and Nick Saban (Alabama) have been mentioned for just about every job opening in the NFL.
Kelly interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns, but all three coaches ultimately decided to stay in the college ranks. Brian Kelly is the latest college coach to flirt with the NFL, but don’t expect to see Meyer interviewing with anyone at the next level anytime soon.
“I'm intrigued with the collegiate atmosphere, I don't know much about pro football,” Meyer told Patrick.
“You start talking about salary caps and those type of things and I'd much rather talk about recruiting and the part that I love about college football and that's the development of young players.”
Meyer runs a tight ship. He asks a lot of his players and he demands they live up to those expectations. He and strength coach Mickey Marotti are infamous for their brutal offseason workout regiment, but that kind of stuff doesn’t always fly at the next level.
One thing about Meyer’s personality that might translate well at the professional level is the fact he treats his players like men, so long as they earn it. If players handle their responsibility, Meyer is very open and honest with them.
That was something new to Ohio State this year, and most of the guys really came to appreciate his direct method of communication. That would come in handy when coaching grown men at the next level, but Meyer just doesn’t have that itch.
“I just never really had an interest,” he added.
And now every Ohio State fan can sleep better tonight.
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