Aug. 21, 2023 – “Nothing was good enough in ‘09. We would win a game by 14 points and I’d be so angry at our team because I thought we should’ve beat them by 30 points,” Urban Meyer said. “We’re undefeated and the entire time I’m in anguish about not being perfect, and it permeated down to our players.”

Meyer noted he was “in a really bad place for a long time.”

“I started to lose weight, and I became addicted to Ambien. I couldn’t sleep, so I’d take an Ambien and then that was not working. So it got to the point where I’d drink two Ambien and drink a beer on top of it just to get four hours of sleep,” he said. “I’d have those moments where I would just sit there and I’d start sweating, shaking, like, a panic attack. Like, ‘Something’s going on here. We’re not ready, we’re not ready.’”

The No. 1 Gators ended the 2009 season undefeated but lost to No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship game that December. “I felt like a failure. I was in a deep depression,” Meyer said. “I couldn’t get out of bed. … [I had] no energy, no desire. I thought I was going to die.”

Meyer then announced he wasn’t returning for the 2010 season.

“Everyone’s shocked. A lot of guys are in tears, and I think some guys were mad. Some guys were emotional,” Tebow said. “We’re playing for the SEC Championship, No. 1 team in the country, about to win another SEC and go play for another National Championship. We lose, we’re shocked, we’re stunned. A couple days later, he says he’s retiring, he’s ill — what happened.”

While Meyer changed his mind two months later and returned for the 2010 season, he announced his exit again after the team went 8-5.