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Friday, January 13, 2012
Bucs receive permission to talk to Zimmer

By Jamison Hensley

Just days after the Bengals locked up offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, there is a possibility they could lose defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers received permission to speak to Zimmer, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported. Zimmer recently interviewed for the Dolphins' head-coaching job.

In Zimmer's four seasons as coordinator, the Bengals' defense has finished in the top half of the NFL each year including two top-10 rankings. The Bengals spent a couple of weeks this season as the league's top-ranked defense.

Zimmer has previously been the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys (2000-06) and Atlanta Falcons (2007).

"If Mike gets an opportunity, that would be fantastic," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said at his end-of-the-season news conference, "and we’ll do nothing but be very supportive of him and any opportunity he gets a chance at.”

Defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle would likely get promoted to defensive coordinator if Zimmer left for a head-coaching job.