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Reports: Urban Meyer, Ohio State near deal

Urban Meyer, who left his job as Florida coach last season because of health concerns, is an Ohio native and a former graduate assistant coach with the Buckeyes.

Associated Press (2010)

Urban Meyer, who left his job as Florida coach last season because of health concerns, is an Ohio native and a former graduate assistant coach with the Buckeyes.

Ohio State met with Urban Meyer on Wednesday, and the possibility that he will become the football coach there next season is close to becoming a reality. Still, the final word will not come until after Saturday, when the Buckeyes play Michigan in their final game of the regular season.

Several websites, TV stations and the Columbus Dispatch have reported Meyer has reached an agreement with Ohio State and, barring any last-minute problems, will be introduced as the Buckeyes' coach next week.

In a statement Wednesday morning, Meyer said: "I have not been offered the job. I have not taken the job. I will not comment any further. I'm going to do Thanksgiving with my family."

WKMG-TV in Orlando reported late Tuesday that Meyer had agreed "in principle" to a seven-year, $40 million contract. The report also indicated current UF linebackers coach D.J. Durkin and strength coach Mickey Marotti would join Meyer's staff.

There are a handful of obstacles Meyer must clear before further engaging with Ohio State, the New York Times reported. That includes speaking with his family over Thanksgiving and further researching how significant the NCAA sanctions against Ohio State may be.

Meyer, 47, won a pair of national championships at Florida, where he went 65-15 in six years before stepping down last year for health reasons and to spend more time with his family. He has worked as a commentator for ESPN this season.

Ohio State, under interim coach Luke Fickell, plays at No. 17 Michigan on Saturday. Fickell declined to address the story.

"No, I won't," he said. "It's not about that. I'm going to have enough respect for this football game to make sure it's about this football game."

Meyer, a native of Ohio, was a graduate assistant coach with the Buckeyes in the mid 1980s.

Former Gator Tim Tebow and current Broncos quarterback said he was glad to hear Meyer might be coming back to coaching.

"Whatever he decides to do, I'll be 100 percent behind him," he said. "It will be exciting to see what happens. I know, more than anything, he wants to be right by his family and have their support in anything he does. Most of when we've talked it's been about that."

Alabama coach Nick Saban said he understood why Meyer had apparently changed his mind about returning to coaching.

"As you go through life and you do things and you make choices and decisions about what you do — and I know his involved … his health — but still you learn about yourself in everything you do," Saban said. "As you learn these things, sometimes things change in terms of what his direction is. I think everybody has to do that, and I don't think anybody should be criticized for that."

Jim Tressel resigned as Ohio State's coach in May. He had been suspended for five games for not being forthcoming with investigators about his knowledge that players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, had received improper benefits.

"I'm in a good place right now mentally and physically," Meyer told the Gainesville Sun on Monday. "So if something happens with Ohio State, I'll have a decision to make. But there has been no interview."

Reports: Urban Meyer, Ohio State near deal 11/23/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 10:21pm]
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