Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said goodbye to the city he called home for six years with an open letter in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday.
Zimmer was hired by the Vikings last week as the ninth head coach in franchise history.
In his debut press conference with the Vikings, Zimmer denied reports that suggested he was "too blunt" to be a head coach in the NFL. Ever since, his softer side has been very visible – not only in his open letter to Cincinnati, but in many of his interviews, including this one with KFAN's Dan Barreiro.
Here's the letter.
To Bengals Fans,
For the past six years I have made Cincinnati my home. I have come to love the area, the people and the city. It truly is a fantastic place with unbelievably caring people.
I was very fortunate to work with so many outstanding people at Paul Brown Stadium. Coaches, especially Marvin, and the defensive staff -- Jay, David, Paul and Mark -- to ownership -- Mike, Katie, Troy, and Paul -- and everyone behind the scenes that does such an outstanding job to make the Bengals a winner.
In the time I was there we have climbed to the top of the AFC North division. We have become one of the better defensive teams in the NFL and we hopefully have become a team that the fans are proud to watch. The fans have been unbelievable to me. They are passionate and respectful. You have made my time in Cincinnati very special. THANK YOU. I will never forget the respect that you gave myself and my family.
To the players, past and present, it was truly an honor to coach you. 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? I loved watching you play on Sundays, and we always fought through the tough times. I am so proud to have been your coach. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, you will always be part of my life.
All my best and thanks for everything.