Did historical friction play into Commanders' hands with Sharrif Floyd hire?

Everything happens for a reason...

Sharrif Floyd
Sharrif Floyd / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Did some historical friction between new assistant defensive line coach Sharrif Floyd and Mike Ziimmer play into the Washington Commanders' hands?

Dan Quinn is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to find the right coaching staff to take the Washington Commanders into a prosperous new era. He's using his vast contacts around the league to find what he believes to be good fits. He's retained a few coaches with promise. He's also returned to his recent employers to build on already connected relationships.

Another notable arrival from the Dallas Cowboys was Shariff Floyd. The progressive figure will be Washington's new assistant defensive line coach after successfully transitioning to the coaching side. His departure from Dallas also represented perfect timing for all involved.

After the Commanders lured away their defensive coordinator, the Cowboys embarked on an expansive search to find a replacement. Several intriguing candidates were interviewed - including former Washington head coach Ron Rivera. They eventually went with Mike Zimmer, who comes with solid credentials after taking time away from the NFL once the Minnesota Vikings went in a different direction.

Commanders benefitted from Sharrif Floyd-Mike Zimmer beef

Why does this impact Floyd? Upon digging a little deeper, there is an obvious connection.

Before embarking on his coaching journey, Floyd was a highly touted college prospect coming out of Florida. The defensive tackle was nothing short of dominant throughout his time with the Gators. As such, the Vikings made him the No. 23 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Their head coach at the time? Mike Zimmer.

Things started well enough for Floyd. He looked capable of carving out a successful career for himself, especially as a sophomore. Unfortunately, a serious knee injury followed by nerve damage during surgery derailed his career. It ended with an early retirement after just four seasons.

There is a little tidbit that adds another fascinating layer to this equation. Back in 2016, Zimmer was blasted by Floyd on social media for what he believed were detrimental comments about his character. The coach brushed them off accordingly. This was swiftly followed by the ex-lineman filing a grievance against the Vikings for loss of earnings amounting to $6.75 million.

"Everyone who has claimed to love me has walked away, left when the weights got heavy. Close friends and loved ones looking to fill their pockets not knowing Or caring bout anything I’m going threw. Crawling around my house after long days of rehab, scooting down the stairs every morning and afternoon. somehow I managed to keep my head above water. I’m sharing this picture first because it was 2 days before I went into surgery, These words were used to slander my name, and tarnish me as a person and a player. So easy to forget the kinds of years A kid has had when your support system has so much B.s to say about you."

Sharrif Floyd via Instagram

We have no idea of the relationship between the two right now. The timing of his departure from Dallas - which almost immediately coincided with Zimmer's appointment - was interesting. Perhaps he just wanted to continue his development under Quinn rather than having to answer to his old head coach. Perhaps there was more to this than meets the eye after how things ended in Minnesota. We'll never know for sure.

What cannot be disputed is Floyd's current coaching trajectory. He's young and ambitious. His methods resonate well with the modern-day player. He has that fire many believed was severely lacking during the final days of Rivera's tenure.

Getting the chance to work alongside two dominant defensive linemen - Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne - was a tempting proposition for Floyd. Restoring Phidarian Mathis' confidence and helping him reach the lofty goals expected of a second-round selection should also be high on his list of priorities. Helping K.J. Henry build on a promising rookie campaign is another task for his immediate agenda.

He'll also get the opportunity to go against Zimmer twice a season. That only sweetens the pot where Floyd is concerned.

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