FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick closed out his Wednesday afternoon news conference with some words of appreciation for Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who coached what he says was his final game on Tuesday.

“I go back a long way with Urban,” the New England Patriots coach said. “I talk to him multiple times every season. I have great respect and appreciation for what he’s done — the national championships, the programs that he’s built. … Great man, has had tremendous success. He’s been a good friend. I have great admiration for what he’s done.”

Meyer, whose Buckeyes defeated Washington 28-23 in the Rose Bowl, spent 17 seasons as a head coach of Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State, posting a career record of 187-32 and winning three national titles. And many have speculated his career ultimately will continue; after all, Meyer “retired” twice during his tenure in Gainesville only to return each time.

Meyer went 84-9 at Ohio State, losing two or fewer games in each of his seven seasons. He plans to remain at the school, transitioning into a new position as assistant athletic director.

The 54-year-old undoubtedly is one of the most successful coaches in college football history, but he also leaves behind a complicated legacy after the role he played in the Zach Smith scandal.

Meyer was suspended for the first three games of this season after an Ohio State investigation determined he did not properly handle domestic violence allegations against Smith, who served as the team’s wide receivers coach before being fired this past summer.

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