Jacksonville, Fla. — Former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo filed a lawsuit against the team on Tuesday, alleging that former head coach Urban Meyer created a hostile work environment, and he is seeking more than $3.5 million in lost salary and additional damages, the Tampa Bay Times is reporting.
The lawsuit in the 4th Judicial Circuit Court in Duval County alleges that Lambo’s performance suffered after he was verbally and physically abused by Meyer. It also claims that Meyer threatened to release Lambo after Lambo spoke up in his defense and that an employer striking an employee and threatening to do so again in retaliation is illegal in Florida.
When contacted, the Jaguars referred to a statement they released in December shortly after Lambo’s allegations became public: “Jaguars legal counsel indeed acknowledged and responded immediately to the query made by Josh Lambo’s agent Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. Counsel offered to speak with Josh, or to assist Josh in speaking with coaching or any other football personnel, if he was comfortable with her sharing the information. Any suggestion otherwise is blatantly false.”
Lambo alleged in a Dec. 15 Tampa Bay Times story that Meyer kicked him in the leg while he was stretching in warm-ups before a practice during the week of the final preseason game. Lambo said Meyer told him, “Hey Dips—, make your f—ing kicks!” and then kicked him in the leg. Lambo characterized the kick as a five out of 10 and then told the newspaper he told Meyer: “Don’t you ever f—ing kick me again!” Lambo said Meyer told him, “I’m the head ball coach. I’ll kick you whenever the f— I want.”
The lawsuit alleges Lambo told his agent, Richard Irvin, about the incident and Irvin notified the Jaguars’ legal counsel the following day.
Lambo had missed two kicks in the preseason before the incident but made both of his field goal attempts in the final preseason game against Dallas. Lambo missed all three of his field goal attempts in the first two regular-season games against Houston and Denver.
Lambo missed two PATs against Arizona in Week 3 and Matt Wright served as the Jaguars’ kicker beginning in Week 4. He kicked a 54-yard field goal with 3:45 remaining and a 53-yard field goal as time expired to give the Jaguars a 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins in London on Oct. 17. That snapped the Jaguars’ 20-game losing streak, which was the second-longest in NFL history.
The Jaguars released Lambo on Oct. 19.
Per the Times, the lawsuit alleges that the physical and verbal abuse impacted Lambo’s ability to sleep and perform his job the way he had during his previous six seasons. Lambo made 81.3% of his field goal attempts in 2015-16 with the Chargers but was cut before the 2017 season. Lambo signed with the Jaguars in October 2017 and he made 95% of his field goal attempts through the 2020 season — including going 12-for-13 from 50 yards and beyond.
Lambo only played in four games in 2020 before being placed on injured reserve with a hip injury. Aldrick Rosas was one of six kickers the Jaguars used in 2020 to replace Lambo, and he and Lambo had a training camp competition in 2021 before the Jaguars released Rosas on July 30.
Lambo is still the most accurate kicker in Jaguars history (91.6%) and he holds team records for most consecutive field goals (24) and longest field goal (59 yards, tied with Josh Scobee).
Per the Times, the lawsuit says Lambo is seeking a jury trial and would like to be awarded back pay from his 2021 salary as well as compensation for emotional stress, harm to his reputation and legal fees. Lambo was scheduled to earn $3.5 million in 2021 and was guaranteed to receive that money as a vested veteran with more than four years of experience. Lambo was to earn $4 million in 2022 with the Jaguars.
Lambo earned $14,000 as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad last season after being cut by the Jaguars. The Jaguars fired Meyer shortly before 1 am ET on Dec. 16 after just 13 games. Owner Shad Khan’s spokesman released a statement to The Associated Press that stated Khan had made the decision to fire Meyer in the hours after the Jaguars’ 20-0 loss at Tennessee on Dec. 12.