“The Turk” is as synonymous with HBO’s Hard Knocks series as Liev Schreiber’s pipes. “The Turk” is the guy who has the brutal duty of destroying football players' dreams.
The first time the Cincinnati Bengals were featured on the award winning show, then-Bengals director of football ops Jim Lippincott became an instant star – basically for being a total a-hole. Being "The Turk" is a thankless job for sure, but when Lippincott woke up fullback J.D. Runnels at 5:30 a.m. and ruthlessly cut the former Oklahoma back, he became the NFL’s best heel since Bill Belichick, circa 2007.
"It's an ability thing. We only cut players around here because of ability," Lippincott deadpanned.
For a refresher on how cringe-worthy the cut was, click here, and go to the 48:10 mark.
The 2013 version of Hard Knocks begins Tuesday night (10 p.m., HBO) and the Bengals are back in action. But nowhere to be seen will be Lippincott, the best Turk there ever lived. Lippincott retired last year to help out with a high school football team (always the correct career move).
Now, there was talk on Bengals message boards in 2011 that the Lippincott-Runnels feud was alive and well. Despite my best efforts on TwimeMachine (a way to search for archived tweets), I couldn’t track down the entire exchange but here’s what Go-Bengals.com unearthed:
Current Eagles lineman Evan Mathis (who was once cut by Cincy) apparently tweeted to Runnels two years ago after watching an old episode of Hard Knocks on NFL Network: “Tell the world about the $20 pity check Lippincott wrote you.”
Runnels’ response? “My 2.5 year old son’s handwriting is better than Lippincotts.”
Damn. Runnels has to know that if there’s one thing you don’t do, it’s insult a man’s penmanship. But @Just_JD38 lives by a different set of rules, obviously. He now spends his time tweeting out videos of high schoolers working out. Something tells me it’s just an elaborate plot to wake up Lippincott at 5:30 a.m. at Moeller High football camp in 2019 and tell him that his services will no longer be needed.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS