It’s been nearly three years since Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino made his abrupt getaway from Atlanta, leaving the Falcons without a head coach for the last three games of the 2007 season.
At least one of the coaches who was on his staff in Atlanta isn’t willing to forgive and forget.
Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer went off on Petrino this week and called him a coward. The Bengals play the Falcons in Atlanta this weekend.
“When a coach quits in the middle of the year and ruins a bunch of people’s families and doesn’t have enough guts to finish out the year, I’m not a part of it,” Zimmer told Cincinnati media members. “And you can put that in the Arkansas News-Gazette. I don’t really give a (bleep). He’s a coward. He ruined a bunch of people’s lives, a bunch of families, kids, because he didn’t have enough (guts) to stay there and finish the job, and that’s the truth.
“Most people in football have enough courage about him and enough fight to stick it out and not quit halfway through the year. It’s cowardly.”
Zimmer was Petrino’s defensive coordinator with the Falcons in 2007. He said Petrino left everybody on the staff in the dark after resigning to take the Arkansas job 13 games into that season.
“He came in and said he resigned, that he’d talk to us all at a later date, walked out of the office and no one has talked to him since,” Zimmer said. “Not that anybody wanted to. He’s a gutless (bleep). You can quote that.”
Something says the Arkansas coaches won’t be visiting with the Bengals’ defensive staff this offseason.
Better yet, could you imagine Zimmer showing up at Arkansas’ pro timing day this spring?
Petrino hasn't talked about his exit from Atlanta in any great detail, although he's expressed remorse for the way it went down. He said there was no other way but for him to resign prior to the end of the season if he were going to take the Arkansas job.