Sports Outside the Beltway

Bobby Petrino resigns as Atlanta Falcons coach

The former Louisville Cardinal coach didn’t last even a year in the NFL. From AP-

ATLANTA – Bobby Petrino resigned as Atlanta Falcons coach on Tuesday, having lasted only 13 games with the NFL team. A person within the league told The Associated Press that Petrino quit to return to the college ranks at Arkansas.

He left Louisville in January to become Atlanta’s coach for a five-year, $24 million contract, largely because the Falcons felt he could help star quarterback Michael Vick reach his full potential.

A few months later, Vick came under investigation for a grisly dogfighting operation that eventually led him to plead guilty to federal charges. He was sentenced Monday to 23 months in prison without ever taking a snap for Petrino.

A source familiar with Patrino’s decision, speaking on condition of anonymity because the school had not made an official announcement, said he was going to Arkansas. The Razorbacks have been looking for a coach for two weeks to replace Houston Nutt, who resigned after a tumultuous season and took the Mississippi job.

The school had no immediate comment on its coaching search.

The Falcons declined further comment beyond a terse, two-paragraph statement released Tuesday night. Owner Arthur Blank and general manager Rich McKay were scheduled to hold a news conference Wednesday.

There was no immediate word who would take over as head coach for the final three games, though defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson would be the most logical candidates.

Petrino walked right smack into the Michael Vick mess. That and the considerable differences in coaching pros, probably influenced Petrino to want to go back to the college ranks.

If Petrino does go to Arkansas, this saga sounds like Lou Holtz II. A college coach who couldn’t make it through one NFL year and then decides to return to the college ranks. Where did Holtz go his year coaching the New York Jets? Arkansas.

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