Hasty exit draws ire of Falcons

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. --- Coward. Quitter. Hypocrite. And those were some of the nicer things the Atlanta Falcons had to say about their former coach Wednesday.

Assistant coach Emmitt Thomas takes the reins as Atlanta's interim head coach.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Assistant coach Emmitt Thomas takes the reins as Atlanta's interim head coach.

Bobby Petrino left behind a bitter team and a boss who felt betrayed, skipping town to return to the college ranks with not so much as a face-to-face meeting with his players.

The Falcons watched him on television the previous night, yukking it up at a giddy, late-night news conference in Arkansas, then showed up at their lockers to find a 78-word letter from their ex-coach, whose tenure in the NFL lasted all of 13 games.

On Wednesday, assistant Emmitt Thomas was promoted to interim head coach for the final three games of the regular season.

While the aloof Petrino had few friends in the locker room, the Falcons (3-10) felt totally abandoned in a season where so much already has gone wrong.

First, Michael Vick.

Now, this.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank got a call late last week from Dallas owner Jerry Jones, an Arkansas alumnus, to say the school was interested in talking to Petrino.

Blank said he told Jones the Falcons had no intention of letting the Razorbacks speak with their coach, and general manager Rich McKay confirmed that position in a follow-up call with Jones.

That was followed by a series of meetings over the weekend in which Petrino laid out some of his concerns. Blank said he met again with the coach Monday, just hours before Atlanta's 34-14 loss to New Orleans, to make sure he wasn't planning to leave.

"He stood up, we shook hands and he said, 'You have a head coach,' " Blank said.

Twenty-four hours later, Petrino submitted his resignation, hopped on a plane to Arkansas and signed a deal as Razorbacks coach.

PARTING WORDS


Atlanta Falcons Players,


Out of my respect for you, I am letting you know that, with a heavy heart, I resigned today as the Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons. This decision was not easy, but it was made in the best interest of me and my family. While my desire would have been to finish out what has been a difficult season for us all, circumstances did not allow me to do that. I appreciate your hard work and wish you the best.


Sincerely, Bobby Petrino

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justputtin
1414
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justputtin 12/13/07 - 07:45 am
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Time to move on. Rebuild.

Time to move on. Rebuild. Bring back Matt.

WISE-OLE-OWL
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WISE-OLE-OWL 12/13/07 - 08:00 am
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Every story has two sides.

Every story has two sides. However, from the only side I now see, looks like Bobby cut and ran when he should have at least stayed through the season and leave in an honorable way. Time will tell.

mou10man
1
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mou10man 12/13/07 - 08:24 am
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As a former coach this is a

As a former coach this is a terrible thing to do. You sign a contract and make a committment to do a job. A coach does not leave during the season ( except for medical reasons or a death in the family). He let down his team and the management of the Falcons. No matter how bad the season is going or the problems that arise, you stick it out as a team. Work through the hard times and help each other cope. The Falcons are better off without him. What makes Arkansas think that he won't cut and run when things get tough there?

lulu
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lulu 12/13/07 - 08:53 am
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Blank is earning his NFL Phd

Blank is earning his NFL Phd this year. Petrino will fail at whatever he tries in the future. Bad karma kills

THE GAME INSIDE THE GAME
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THE GAME INSIDE THE GAME 12/13/07 - 09:23 am
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The coaching Gods can not be

The coaching Gods can not be happy with the way he left town . Every team deserves a face to face meeting......

markxr7
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markxr7 12/13/07 - 09:43 am
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His last name should be

His last name should be changed to "Peterino". Because he sure petered out on his Falcons team. I hope you Arkansas fans are happy because you have a quitter for a coach! Woo Pig Sooey!

dani
12
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dani 12/13/07 - 09:53 am
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I am still waving goodbye

I am still waving goodbye with both hands and both feet.....
Don't hurry back, Sir!

zcock
60
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zcock 12/13/07 - 10:54 am
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I could care less who coaches

I could care less who coaches the Falcons. Ever since Vick has been gone there has been a ray of light. That light is a new team with more of a traditional style of play. I just hope that Blank will just clean house. Some of the Prima donna athletes need to find a new home.

TEDDY1
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TEDDY1 12/13/07 - 01:08 pm
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the falcons need some team

the falcons need some team leadrers and starting w/a quarter back would help alot. they need to stop recruiting hasbeens and lets pay some money for some healthy and reliable players. a one play person may look good in that one moment then what is left after that? a loss and a team that can't get it right. i will always pull for the falcons because i'm a atlanta native born and raised but gezzzzzzzzzz i would almost like to see them get sold to someone that isn't scared to spend money on some football players not one play makers......

markxr7
0
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markxr7 12/13/07 - 06:00 pm
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Woo pig suey! Woo pig suey!

Woo pig suey! Woo pig suey! Let's here it for our new coach Bobby quitter phooey!

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