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Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino will be the new head coach at Arkansas......
ESPN - Petrino reportedly phones in resignation to Falcons - College Football
Bobby Petrino abruptly resigned Tuesday as Atlanta Falcons coach after 13 games, and multiple sources told ESPN he is negotiating an agreement to become the new coach at Arkansas.
Petrino and his agent had been talking with the Falcons about his preference to return to the college ranks. He had only left Louisville in January, agreeing to a five-year, $24 million contract to coach the Falcons.
Arkansas had no immediate comment on its coaching search, but called an 11:30 p.m. ET news conference in Fayetteville for a "major announcement." Petrino is expected to attend.
Citing the team as its source, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on its Web site that Petrino phoned the Falcons about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday and resigned. Petrino and the team agreed he would not coach the Falcons' remaining three games.
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 at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday.
Petrino and Arkansas do not have a deal, the sources told ESPN, but once one is in place, Petrino is expected to be paid around $3 million a year to succeed Houston Nutt, who resigned after a tumultuous season and hours later took the Mississippi job.
Petrino did not answer his cell phone or a call placed to his Atlanta-area home by The Associated Press. His brother, Falcons receivers coach Paul Petrino, declined comment when reached on his cell phone.
Bobby Petrino lost 10 of his 13 games as an NFL coach. He lost only 9 of 50 games in four seasons at Louisville.
"I thought that it was his goal to win a Super Bowl and be in the NFL, but things change. People change their mind all the time," Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm told ESPN's Joe Schad. "He wants to get back into college. I think he'll be successful."
There was no immediate word who would take over as Falcons coach for the final three games, though defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson would be the most logical candidates.
Petrino's stint was one of the shortest for a non-interim coach since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Pete McCulley was fired after starting out 1-8 with San Francisco in 1978, and Sid Gillman lasted only 10 games in his second stint as San Diego coach, going 4-6 in 1971 before quitting.
In an interesting twist, Lou Holtz coached the New York Jets for 13 games in 1976. He went 3-10, then left the team with one game remaining to become the coach at Arkansas.
The Falcons are 3-10, their season torn apart by Michael Vick's involvement in a dogfighting ring and subsequent 23-month jail sentence, which was levied Monday. After losing Vick, Petrino tried three other starting quarterbacks without success.
The Falcons are assured of the 32nd losing season in their 42-year history. Petrino's resignation is another jarring blow to a team that dealt with Vick's legal troubles since the first day of training camp, when a plane flew overhead pulling a sign that said: "New Team Name? Dog Killers?"
Petrino assembled one of college football's highest-scoring offenses at Louisville, but the Falcons were anemic without Vick. They also were plagued by injuries on the offensive line, which forced them to start two players who weren't even drafted out of college.
Just hours after Vick's sentencing in Richmond, Va., Atlanta took its fourth straight double-digit loss, 34-14 to the New Orleans Saints on "Monday Night Football".
The resignation had to be a major surprise to Blank, who fired Jim Mora just two seasons after he led the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game, and lured Petrino with a lucrative contract.
Before Monday's game, Blank said he felt better than ever about his decision to hire Petrino given all the adversity the team faced this season.
"I feel real fortunate we have a terrific guy leading our team, our CEO, in Bobby Petrino," Blank said. "I think he's proven to me he's a better head coach than we thought he was going to be, dealing with a set of cards we didn't see unfold this year, which probably never in the history of the NFL has anything like this happened. Bobby has done a wonderful job dealing with all of these issues. He's kept the players focused."
But there were signs of dissension, especially in the way Petrino dealt with his players.
He ran the team with an aloof style, feeling no reason to share his decisions on personnel with the affected players. He could walk through the locker room without speaking to anyone and was openly criticized by two of the team's stars, Pro Bowlers Alge Crumpler and DeAngelo Hall.
Petrino drew the ire of the veterans with his decision to cut nose tackle Grady Jackson, one of the team's most productive defensive linemen, during the bye week. Quarterback Joey Harrington was clearly perturbed a few weeks ago when, after leading the Falcons to two straight wins, he heard from the media that Petrino still considered injury prone Byron Leftwich the starter.
Against the Saints, the Falcons made another change at the most crucial offensive position, giving Chris Redman his first start since 2002. While Redman threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns, the Falcons lost again.
They have been outscored by an average of 18.5 points in their last four defeats.
After the latest loss, Petrino sounded as though he was still committed to getting the Falcons turned around.
"We'll come back on Wednesday to take a look at it, and then we'll get back to work," he said. "We have to find something to rally around."
But clearly, Petrino already had decided to abandon the sinking ship.
Other than Jimmy Johnson(his alma mater) coming here, i couldn't think of another available or potentially available hire that would immediately make all the other coaches in the league go 'uh oh'. If he has the FL recruiting pipeline that i've heard he does we could be a player.
"I'm kicking my ass, do you mind?" - Carey/Liar Liar
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