MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck expressed surprise Thursday, Feb. 21, over critical comments former U coach Jerry Kill made about Fleck earlier this week.

“I got a lot of respect for Jerry Kill; I always will,” Fleck said on KTLK-AM 1130 during halftime of the Gophers men’s basketball game against Michigan. “I’ve learned so much from him, especially working for him and knowing him a lot of years. I’m really sorry he feels that way. I’m not sure where that came from.”

In an interview Tuesday on Sirius XM radio, Kill said Fleck had changed since they worked together at Northern Illinois in 2008-09.

“I just think sometimes ego gets carried away,” Kill told the show “Big Ten Today.” He added: “Do I think he’s about the players? No. He’s about himself.”

On Wednesday night, a Gophers captain and to-be senior defensive end Carter Coughlin tweeted his view on Fleck.

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“Just for the record – I absolutely love playing for Coach Fleck,” he wrote. “EVERY day I see how much he cares about me and the entire team, and there are honestly few men I’ve met who I respect as much as Coach Fleck. Some people need to hear that!”

On the accusation Fleck isn’t “about” his players, Fleck responded: “That saddens me. It saddened (my wife) Heather. It saddens our entire family, but this isn’t a profession about feelings. One thing that is really, really important to me is our players. It always has been and always will be.”