Has a head coach ever hired an assistant who he doesn’t publicly trust? Has there ever been an instance in any industry where a hirer didn’t back the person who he or she hired right after they’ve been hired?
If you thought this would happen with Zac Taylor and Jim Turner, you have been incredibly mistaken.
Amidst the backlash regarding the reports of Taylor and the Bengals hiring Turner as their offensive line coach, Taylor spoke about the criticisms directed his way just two days into his tenure as head coach.
“I know the man and I know he’s a great person, great human. And so, somebody I trust,” Taylor told reporters on Thursday. “We talked about culture and bringing the right people in this building and I would never do anything that would tarnish the reputation of the Brown family and the Bengals organization if I didn’t believe in the person and know the person inside and out. ...And that’s why I’m excited to get Jim in here. Football coaching aside, I like the person and I know the person.”
Friends often have high opinions of each other. Taylor and Turner’s days on the same coaching staff spans back to 2008, and Taylor was the one who hired Turner as the University of Cincinnati’s running backs coach when he joined on as offensive coordinator in 2016. Taylor also said that Turner was his No. 1 choice for the job now, despite the past that Turner carries with him.
“Well, I think everyone gets caught in some situations sometimes that they wish they would do differently, but again, I know those situations inside and out and I feel very comfortable bringing Jim in here and all the other guys we’re bringing in,” Taylor explained, regarding Turner’s past.
Taylor was with Turner when the bullying scandal in the Miami eventually got Turner fired. he assuredly knew the ins and outs of the scandal at the Texas A&M women’s football clinic a few years ago that got Taylor suspended. Knowing that as soon as Turner’s name became associated with the team he know coaches for, rightful backlash would follow. Taylor didn’t waver to brush it aside.
“On the surface sometimes things look a certain way,” He explained. “And so, again, I feel very comfortable with the decision to bring him in. I anticipated something like this and felt very comfortable. Maybe if I didn’t know someone who had been through those situations, but I know it, and I know him, and I know what he’s all about and I feel very comfortable. I know that this is the right decision.”
When things look a certain way on the surface, sometimes it’s because they are what they look like. Sometimes they’re not, and that’s what Taylor is trying to push. Who are we to tell Taylor who his friend is? We don’t know him like he does, we weren’t in that locker room in Miami or in the clinic in College Station.
But we weren’t born yesterday either, and all of our naivety evaporated over the years of the Marvin Lewis press conference experience.
In an incredible double down, Taylor also had this to say about Turner:
Zac Taylor: "You'll be hard-pressed to find anybody who has played for Jimmy Turner or coached with Jimmy Turner that will have a bad thing to say about him. You will have a hard time finding that person who will say that."— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) February 7, 2019
We can think of one, but whatever.
Nevertheless, Taylor expressed zero reservations about hiring his friend and former colleague, and did his best to support him unequivocally.
”I don’t need the buffer, because to be honest with you, I know what I know. And so, I shouldn’t have hired him because he left me at UC after like a week and a half, so he should’ve been dead to me,” Taylor joked.
”But he’s not, because I know what he’s about, and the people in the community will understand that. You all will understand that. I feel very comfortable. I don’t need any buffering. He was out for two years and I hired him at UC. That was my decision. And so I felt very comfortable standing up here in front of whoever I need to stand in front of and explain the reasoning behind it.”
We’ll see coach, we’ll see.