Suhan: A great Vikings full-back, Del Rio’s career should bite the dust

Jack Del Rio was a great player for the Vikings in the ’90s. He’s also been a captain, while anchoring one of the best defenses in the NFL.

His time as an NFL coach wasn’t impressive. In his 12 years as the head coach of the NFL, he won one playoff game.

His leadership may have been a matter of dispute.

This week, del Rio embarrassed himself. He described the January 6 attack on the US Capitol as a “flick.” A police officer was killed during the attack; Four later committed suicide; Many more were injured.

Del Rio merged the January 6 attack with protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Del Rio later released a statement that amounted to a half-hearted attempt to offer an apology, but his Twitter feed is riddled with misinformation and opinions supporting his original statements.

He wants us to believe that a violent rebellion is the same as protesting the police killing black people for no reason.

How does an association claiming to be sensitive to the plight of black Americans continue to hire Del Rio?

How can the black players in Washington’s leaders view him as a leader?

How can anyone take him seriously again?

It’s entirely possible that Del Rio’s career will continue, at least in the short term, because he coaches for leaders, perhaps the most dysfunctional franchise in American professional sports.

Decent organization will fire him now, when he will have plenty of time to find a new defensive coordinator before starting boot camp.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Del Rio think of himself and sabotage his team while trying to prove he was the smartest person in the locker room. In 1992, Del Rio’s first season in Minnesota, he loudly called in support of QB and former USC teammate Sean Salisbury to play Rich Gannon, who had recovered from injury, in a home game of the Vikings against Washington. The game was a disaster. Against an injury-decimated Washington team, Salisbury completed six of 20 passes for 113 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Washington won, 24-7.

Gannon left on free agency, became a valuable backup, and then created four consecutive Pro Bowl teams with the Raiders. In 2002, he won the Associated Press MVP Award. Salisbury will start eight more NFL games, going from 3-5. He later admitted that, as an ESPN analyst, he showed inappropriate pictures to his co-workers.

You can see the same glimmer of complacency in Del Rio’s eyes this week, as he described the rebellion as “dust.”

“I’m sick of it,” Washington’s former kick-back Brian Mitchell, a member of the team’s Ring of Fame, said on his radio show. “We have coach (Ron Rivera) sitting here trying to wear a pedestal because it’s that discipline.”

Sprinkling in expletives, Mitchell continued, “He’s got a defensive coordinator constantly bluffing the bear. You have an undisciplined tide coordinator, but you want your football team to be disciplined?”

Del Rio did good things for the Vikings on the field, and it’s a good thing he was never a coach here.

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