The Cincinnati Bengals visit the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday, which means Bengals Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer will return to the Georgia Dome as a coach for the first time since 2007.
(Mike Zimmer: Molder of men, reader of minds)
Three years ago Zimmer served on the Falcons staff blindsided by the departure of then-Atlanta head coach Bobby Petrino. With three games left in what turned out to be a 4-12 season, Petrino resigned without notice to take the head coaching job at the University of Arkansas.
(Lawyer Milloy in 2007: Co-sign)
When Zimmer was asked by Tom Archdeacon of the DAYTON DAILY NEWS his thoughts about returning to Atlanta, the Cincinnati assistant unloaded an unprompted verbal assault on Petrino.
“I was never even there. As far as I am concerned. I never even was there.When a coach quits in the middle of the year and ruins a bunch of people’s families and doesn’t have enough guts to at least finish out the year — I am not a part of that.
“He is a coward. Put that in quotes. He ruined a bunch of people’s lives, a bunch of people’s families, kids, because he didn’t have enough nuts to stay there and finish the job. That’s the truth.
“Most people in football have enough courage about them and enough fight to stick through something and not quit halfway through the year. It is cowardly. He came in and said he resigned, he would talk to us all at a later date, walked out of the office and no one has ever talked to him since. Not that anybody wanted to.
“He’s a gutless b——-d. Quote that. I don’t give a s——.”
When he realized that some reporters might not publish his expletives, Zimmer cleaned up his comments.
“How about this: ‘Gutless MF.’ You can use that.”
Okay, not really.
Zimmer, who is a highly-respected NFL assistant coach, is far from alone in his assessment of Petrino. Take, for instance, Louisville football fans.
In 2006, Petrino signed a 10-year contract to coach the Cardinals, then resigned six months later to take the Falcons job. In 2003 while at U of L, Petrino secretly interviewed for the Auburn job while Tommy Tuberville was still employed by the school. The interview, which was later found out by the media, took place in a private jet on the tarmac of a Louisville airport. (Petrino also formerly coached under Tuberville at Auburn.)
Thanks to guys like Petrino, never let anyone tell you that character and integrity has anything to do with why football coaches are gainfully employed.