Mike Zimmer, Cincinnati Bengals extend contract


The Cincinnati Bengals and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer have reached agreement on a contract extension, the team announced Wednesday. The extension will keep Zimmer under contract through 2014, a team source told NFL.com and NFL Network's Albert Breer.

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Zimmer, 56, is entering his fifth season running the Bengals' defense. Cincinnati's defense has ranked among the NFL's top 15 each year under Zimmer. In 2007, the season before Zimmer's arrival, the Bengals ranked 27th in total defense.

Last season, the Bengals ranked seventh in total defense, 10th against the run and ninth against the pass. The team's 45 sacks ranked fifth in the NFL in 2011.

Thanks to Zimmer's success in Cincinnati, his name has been linked to open NFL head-coaching jobs. Earlier this offseason, Zimmer interviewed for head-coaching jobs with the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers; he was also mentioned as a candidate to coach the Indianapolis Colts. Zimmer's Bengals contract had been set to expire at the end of the 2012 season.

Prior to arriving in Cincinnati, Zimmer was the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons (2007) and spent 13 seasons (1994 to 2006) with the Dallas Cowboys, where he was the defensive coordinator from 2000 to 2006.