LAS VEGAS - The hazy'' and the "murky'' are over. The mutual interest between Mike Zimmer and the Dallas Cowboys, first reported earlier this month, is now an official agreement as Zimmer is coming back to "the star'' as the newly-hired Cowboys defensive coordinator.
And he just issued his first remarks on the move.
“I’m excited and honored to be back with a great organization,'' Zimmer tells Ed Werder of ESPN. "I’m thrilled to work with Mike McCarthy, for whom I have had a ton of respect in our NFC North days, and to do anything I can do to help the Joneses and the Cowboys.”
We've written about Zimmer, 67, being a "loyalty guy'' and about the value of that as it relates to Jerry Jones and family, who helped him break into NFL coaching with the Cowboys in 1995 ... when Zimmer joined a staff that won a Super Bowl.
And it is our belief that infinitely more than Zimmer having some future "master plan,'' and infinitely more than Jones having one, this truly is about "helping'' the Cowboys get over the hump in an "all-in'' manner befitting Jones' recent pledge.
Jones wanted experience and loyalty. Head coach Mike McCarthy has never worked directly with Zimmer, but as he moves into the final year of his contract, he wanted the same.
The two coaches know each other from when McCarthy was the boss in Green Bay and Zimmer the boss in Minnesota. The arrangement can be similar to the one with Dan Quinn, who did not come here four years ago as a McCarthy crony but quickly developed a deep and important relationship here.
Quinn now moves to be the Washington Commanders’ head coach next season. Zimmer meanwhile comes home. Zimmer spent 12 seasons with the organization, six of which were as a defensive coordinator. That's when he developed as a reputation as a no-nonsense taskmaster, an attitude that Cowboys legend Darren Woodson believes fits a need at The Star.
"He is not here to be your friend,'' Woodson said. "He will shock the system,''
Since the Vikings fired Zimmer in January 2022, he has not coached in the NFL, instead spending time advising his pal Deion Sanders at the college level.
McCarthy will need Zimmer to lift a defense that can win in the playoffs. Under McCarthy, Dallas has recorded three straight 12-win seasons ... but the Cowboys haven't made an NFC Championship Game since Zimmer's last turn on the staff.
That's the immediate goal. And Mike Zimmer is here to help.