Mike Zimmer on dealing with eye issues: ‘You need to walk the walk’
Mike Zimmer made his return to the sidelines last Sunday after missing the Minnesota Vikings’ Thursday night loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 13 after undergoing emergency eye surgery. And he says it’s up to him to “walk the walk,” the same thing he expects out of his players.
Zimmer has now undergone four eye surgeries to deal with a detached retina. The head coach was cleared to travel with his team to Jacksonville for Sunday’s 25-16 win over the Jaguars, but was required to wear a patch on his right eye as well as sunglasses for protection.
Mike Zimmer is coaching nine days after having a second eye surgery. pic.twitter.com/7kkQg1e4Ax
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 11, 2016
It made for a frustrating experience for Zimmer, as he had to frequently switch out the sunglasses for reading glasses during the victory in order to read his play sheet and tablet.
“It was difficult because I couldn’t read, because this eye is good for distance,” Zimmer said as he pointed to his left eye, via ESPN. “So I had to take the glasses off, put the reading glasses on, all that time when I was trying to read the stuff. So that part was kind of a pain in the butt.”
Zimmer mentioned he needed team security director Kim Klawiter to lead him to midfield to do the customary handshake with Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley.
“So the vision is just not real good,” he noted.
Zimmer previously noted how hard it was to miss the Dallas game and insists he doesn’t plan on missing another one in his career. And it all comes down to expecting the same of himself as he expects out of his players.
“Since the day I walked in the building here, I’ve talked about toughness,” Zimmer said Monday, via the Star Tribune. “There’s a sign up there somewhere that says, ‘Take ownership in something bigger than yourself.’ … If you’re going to preach it, you need to walk the walk, too.”
While Zimmer demonstrated his loyalty to Vikings players and fans, he noted being able to attend Sunday’s game was just as important for him personally.
“I need to be there for me,” he said. “I don’t know about for them.”
The 7-6 Vikings will have to rely on Zimmer’s leadership down the stretch, as anything short of running the table in the final three games all but guarantees the team will miss out on the postseason.