Petrino resigns |

Petrino resigns

Paul Newberry
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado
**FILE**Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino looks up at the scoreboard during first-quarter NFL pre-season football against the New York Jets, in this Aug. 10, 2007 file photo at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. A person close to the team told The Associated Press Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007, Petrino has resigned as the Falcons head coach. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)

ATLANTA ” Bobby Petrino resigned as Atlanta Falcons coach on Tuesday, a person within the league told The Associated Press. He lasted only 13 games with the NFL team.

Petrino left Louisville to become Falcons coach in January for a five-year, $24 million contract, largely because Atlanta felt he could help star quarterback Michael Vick reach his full potential.

A few months later, Vick came under investigation for a grisly dogfighting operation that eventually led him to plead guilty to federal charges. He was sentenced Monday to 23 months in prison without ever taking a snap for Petrino.

The person familiar with Petrino’s decision requested anonymity because the team has not yet announced it. There was immediate speculation he had quit to take a college job, with Arkansas among the schools seeking a coach.

Arkansas has been looking for two weeks for a coach to replace Houston Nutt, who resigned after a tumultuous season and hours later took the Mississippi job.

After losing Vick, Petrino tried three other starting quarterbacks without success. The Falcons are 3-10 and assured of the 32nd losing season in their 42-year history.

The resignation of Petrino was another jarring blow to the Falcons, who 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.

“Not a good day,” Petrino said afterward.

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