Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer has almost single-handedly changed the image of the Cincinnati Bengals since he came to Cincinnati in 2008.
Zimmer’s units routinely have carried the Bengals since he took over, and having just completed his 20th season in the NFL and his sixth straight as Bengals DC, he’s been a key reason Cincinnati has made the playoffs a franchise-record three-straight seasons.
His 2013 defense ranked third in total defense (305.5 yards per game) and tied for fifth in points allowed (19.1 per game), but he’ll now he may be one someone else’s sideline in the next season after the Minnesota Vikings have tabbed Zimmer as their next head coach.
But while he may where a purple outfit from here on out, he will always cherish his six years in the Queen City, and he wrote this open letter to Cincinnati, thanking the fans and saying goodbye before he departs to coach the Vikings.
For the past six years I have made Cincinnati my home. I have come to love the area, the people and the city. It truly is a fantastic place with unbelievably caring people.
I was very fortunate to work with so many outstanding people at Paul Brown Stadium. Coaches, especially Marvin, and the defensive staff — Jay, David, Paul and Mark — to ownership — Mike, Katie, Troy, and Paul — and everyone behind the scenes that does such an outstanding job to make the Bengals a winner.
The fans have been unbelievable to me. They are passionate and respectful. You have made my time in Cincinnati very special. THANK YOU. I will never forget the respect that you gave myself and my family.
You can read the full letter at Cincinnati.com once the tears have dried in your eyes.