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 the team did nothing to stop it.
The lawsuit in the 4th Judicial Circuit Court in Duval County alleges that the Jaguars violated the Florida Private Sector Whistleblower Act and that Meyer's actions -- which included an accusation that he kicked Lambo -- "violated Florida civil, criminal, and employment law concerning assault, battery, and workplace violence in furtherance of an employer's interests."
The lawsuit says Meyer's actions impacted Lambo's ability to sleep, practice and perform his duties at the high level that he had with the Jaguars under previous coaches. It also alleges Lambo suffered extreme emotional and mental distress and Lambo is seeking any back pay owed, damages and other legal fees.
Lambo received his full $3.5 million salary from the Jaguars in 2021 because he is vested veteran with more than four years of experience as well as earning $14,000 as a member of the Steelers' practice squad after being cut by the Jaguars. Lambo was to earn $4 million in 2022 in the final year of a contract extension he signed in February 2019.
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."
The lawsuit also is asking the Jaguars to produce documentation in regard to any investigations the team conducted into Meyer's workplace behavior, including documentation of any other instances of "objectionable, abusive, violent, or hostile actions by Urban Meyer with respect to other employees, coaches, and players." In addition, the lawsuit seeks documentation of any efforts by Jaguars management to counsel, correct or otherwise address Meyer's behavior.
The lawsuit 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. Lambo said 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 says he told Meyer: "Don't you ever f---ing kick me again!" Lambo said Meyer then 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.
The lawsuit alleges that Meyer approached Lambo a day later and threatened to cut him if he objected to his behavior or challenged his authority again by saying: "[I]f you ever speak to me like that again, you'll be out of here. You're the first player I've ever let speak to me that way in my career, and if you do it again, you're gone."
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 the Cowboys. Lambo missed all three of his field goal attempts in the first two regular-season games against the Texans and Broncos.
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 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. Wright, who made 21-of-24 field goal attempts last season, was waived by the Jaguars on Wednesday.
The lawsuit alleges that the physical and verbal abuse impacted Lambo's ability to perform at the level 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 played in only 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 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).
The Jaguars fired Meyer shortly before 1 a.m. ET on Dec. 16 after just 13 games. Owner Shad Khan's spokesperson 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.