Hours after being fired by the Minnesota Vikings, Rick Spielman issued a statement to the public expressing his thanks for 16 years with the NFL franchise.
"I am honored to have been a part of the Minnesota Vikings organization and this incredible community for the past 16 years. The people of this state welcomed me and my family and treated us with the utmost respect throughout our tenure. Michelle and I created many special memories with our children here, and we will always consider Minnesota our home," the now-former general manager said.
Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer were fired Monday following Minnesota's second consecutive season missing the playoffs. Team co-owner Mark Wilf is expected to address the media at a 1 p.m. press conference Monday, though the team has already made it clear that it has begun its search for a new coach and GM.
Spielman first joined the Vikings in 2006, ultimately taking over the GM role in 2012.
Here's the rest of his statement:
Vikings fans, you are some of the most passionate in all of sports. The tremendous game day atmosphere and home field advantage at U.S. Bank Stadium is because of each of you. There is nothing like the emotions we shared together at kickoff each Sunday.
To the Vikings players, coaches and staff, I sincerely appreciate your tireless efforts to win and your dedication to this community and the fan base. There are so many talented people throughout this organization, and because of that, the Vikings will continue to be a special place in the future.
Finally, I want to thank Zygi & Mark Wilf and the entire Wilf family for believing in me and consistently providing the resources for us to be successful as a football operations staff. It is not common in the NFL to be in a position for this long, which goes to show how this ownership group believes in stability and supports their leaders.
While today is emotional, I wish the Minnesota Vikings and Vikings fans nothing but future success.
Vikings Radio Network and KFAN announcer Paul Allen reported during his radio show that the Wilfs cried when they informed Spielman and Zimmer of their decision to move in a different direction.