NFL Nation: Vikki Zimmer

Zimmer tragedy also impacted Saints

February, 4, 2010
MIAMI -- Back during the regular season, we all heard a lot about how the Cincinnati Bengals rallied around defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer after his wife Vikki died suddenly in October.

The Bengals weren’t the only NFL team impacted by that tragedy. New Orleans defensive assistant Adam Zimmer is the son of Mike and Vikki. He took a few minutes Thursday to discuss how the Saints’ run to the Super Bowl has helped him deal with the loss.

“Obviously, nothing is ever going to replace mom, but at least something good happened this year,’’ said Zimmer, who works primarily with linebackers and has been with the Saints since 2006. “That helped me put it in the background a little bit. When I’m working, it’s a lot easier to keep my mind off of it. I’m sure after this game, it’ll be a little harder because things will slow down and I’ll have time to think.’’

Zimmer said the Saints have rallied around him with lots of support.

“They’ve helped a lot,’’ Zimmer said. “Scott Shanle’s had me over when we’ve had time off. Mark Simoneau had me over for Christmas dinner and [assistant] Coach [Joe] Vitt had me over for Thanksgiving. They’ve been there for me. All the linebackers showed up for the funeral and that was really important to me when I saw them coming.’’

Zimmer said he and his father also have leaned heavily on each other.

“We call each other every night now,’’ Zimmer said. “He’s texting me all the time now. He hardly ever even used texting before this year, but now he’s texting me all the time. Whenever we need each other or need to talk, we give each other a shout. We’ve always been close, but this has brought us closer.’’

Lewis deserved Coach of the Year

January, 16, 2010
It would have been easy for the Associated Press to select Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints, the Indianapolis Colts' Jim Caldwell or Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers as its 2009 Coach of the Year. All three led their teams to at least 13 victories and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

AP Photo/David KohlBengals coach Marvin Lewis, who led the team to a 10-6 season, was named AP Coach of the Year.
But unlike most awards, this year's voting went deeper than standings and statistics.

It was about tragedy and the ability to lead an entire organization through some of the toughest situations imaginable.

With those rare credentials, Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals was chosen as the AP 2009 Coach of the Year. No other coach faced such a difficult journey this season. Lewis' team finished with a 10-6 record, a playoff berth and an AFC North division title.

The passing of Vikki Zimmer, the wife of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, and receiver Chris Henry about two months apart rocked the Bengals. The team also had families of several players affected by the tsunami in the Samoa Islands.

This year was so much more than injuries and X's and O's for Cincinnati.

The next step for the Bengals is to offer a contract extension to Lewis, who is entering the final year of his deal. In seven seasons, he has brought respectability back to a franchise that was a league-wide laughingstock the dozen years prior to his arrival.

Now the Bengals are looking up as they try to maintain their success from this past season.

"While we're proud of the season we had, we didn’t get beyond our first goal [of winning the AFC North]," Lewis said in a statement. "There is a lot more for us to accomplish in 2010."




Sunday, 2/2