Leslie Frazier's first job as a defensive coordinator in the NFL didn't last long.
It was as the Bengals defensive coordinator from 2003 to 2004. Despite dramatically improving the Bengals' ability to force turnovers, Frazier was fired by head coach Marvin Lewis.
Frazier, who now leads the Vikings, will go up against Lewis and the Bengals this weekend, but he insists there is no bad blood.
“I have a lot of respect for Marvin,” Frazier told the Star Tribune. “That entire Bengals organization, the Browns [family owners], they were terrific to me during my time there. Marvin and I see each other in the offseason. We have a good relationship. I’m always thankful for every place I’ve ever been in my career. Wherever I’ve been it’s always been a benefit, so I’m thankful for my time in Cincinnati.”
Lewis has no bad blood either. In fact, he told the Pioneer Press that firing Frazier was extremely hard to do.
"That's the toughest thing you ever have to do as a coach," Lewis said. "(It's) very difficult to make any kind of change, particularly (with) somebody that's been a friend and somebody you respect so much for his ability as a coach and also his character as a person.
"I've tried to be supportive all the way through with Les with what's happened with his career since then. It's been great. It doesn't surprise me."
Frazier's job security in Minnesota will be under the microscope following another losing season. If he ends up getting fired, the decision might have a little something to do with outside pressure.
"It’s changed so much with the way the job has evolved over the years," Frazier said in an interview with SiriusXM interview, via ESPN.com. "A lot of it has to do with the popularity of the sport -- so many people with opinions, whether it’d be the Internet, talk radio, blogs, whatever it may be. Those different outlets, they seem to influence owners. I don’t know; you just have to be careful."
"I know coach [Tony] Dungy and I talk about this all the time the patience that franchises like the Pittsburgh Steelers and a few others have shown over the years and the results they’ve gotten from there where they haven’t knee-jerked after a tough season with their coaches. It’s a good model, but it’s not one that everyone adheres to," he added.