If Mike Zimmer stays, he wants Michael Johnson back


While Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer continues to interview for head-coaching jobs around the NFL, there’s a chance he remains in Cincinnati for at least one more season. If that’s the case, he’s like to keep arguably his best defensive lineman in Michael Johnson, who’s slated to hit free agency.

"“I have a ton of respect for him,” Zimmer said via Bengals.com.  “I remember when he came here he had a lot of things said about him when he came out of college; he wouldn’t finish, he didn’t do this or didn’t do that, but Michael has become a good football player. He’s very conscientious, he plays extremely hard.He’s one of these guys that we’ve build up into what we’re looking for here, the kind of guys that we want, the kind of personalities, the kind of caring about one another in the locker room. I can’t say enough good things about him…Hopefully, we’ll get him back. If not, I know that Michael will be successful wherever he goes”"

Nov 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (93) hugs defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

One can look t this in three ways:

1. Zimmer is leaning towards staying for one more year and is already looking forward to next year.

2. This is a tactic by Zimmer telling Mike Brown “I’ll stay if you let me keep one of my best players”.

3. Zimmer is just expressing his feelings for a player he’s been with every step of his NFL career.

The latter is probably the case, as Zimmer has always been known to wear his emotions on his sleeve and not hold anything back.

Either way, having both of them back is highly unlikely give the Bengals’ cap situation, but at least Zimmer is pushing for it.

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