Mike Zimmer's letter to Bengals fans

January, 21, 2014
Jan 21
11:50
AM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- Mike Zimmer started his job as the Minnesota Vikings' new head coach less than a week ago after spending the past six seasons in Cincinnati. Now, he's taken the opportunity to bid Bengals fans farewell.

Zimmer wrote an open letter to Bengals fans, which ran in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday morning. In it, Zimmer thanked Bengals ownership, the coaching staff, fans and players, while offering a little glimpse into what he prides himself on as a coach:
"To the players, past and present, it was truly an honor to coach you," Zimmer wrote. "I tried to give you my very best each day. You should be proud of what this franchise has become. You have my ultimate respect and my goal was to make each one of you better than when you walked in. I hope I did. You are family to me. We proved a lot of people wrong, didn't we?"

Zimmer talked in his introductory news conference about how he's always identified most with the players who have something to prove, whether they've been unable to establish themselves in the NFL or have been written off as too old to contribute. He's built his reputation on being able to get the most out of those players, like undrafted free agent Vontaze Burfict or troubled cornerback Adam Jones. And as he inherits a defense that allowed more points than any in the league this past season, Zimmer will have ample opportunity to help players prove people wrong.

The entire letter is worth your time; it was a classy gesture from Zimmer, and it'll give you some perspective on how he operates.

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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