Jeff Fisher says it was 'time to move on' - WKRN News 2

Jeff Fisher says it was 'time to move on'

Posted: Updated: Jan 28, 2011 3:22 PM CST

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After 16 full seasons with the Tennessee Titans, Jeff Fisher said a point had been reached and it was "time to move on."

Fisher, who declined to address specific details during a press conference Friday morning, acknowledged there were some differences with the team, but said the decision for he and the Titans to part ways was best given the last two "difficult" seasons.

Both Titans Executive Vice President Steve Underwood and General Manager Mike Reinfeldt praised Fisher for what he's done for the team but much like Fisher, said they're moving on.

The Titans announced their split with Fisher Thursday night, shocking players, assistant coaches and the community.

Fisher guided the team's relocation from Houston to Tennessee and took the Titans to their lone Super Bowl appearance.  He also had losing skids of at least five games in five of the last seven seasons.

The enormity of the situation was evident on Fisher's face as he addressed the Nashville media for the last time at Baptist Sports Park.

He talked briefly about the day in 1994 when he was named interim head coach of the-then Houston Oilers, saying, "I really, at that point, could never have imagined doing it as long as I have done it."

Fisher said he has a "great deal of personal peace" with the decision, and went on to thank the organization for one "incredible journey", adding that he has nothing but "very, very fond memories."

"It's been a tremendous experience and I am forever indebted to this organization," he said.

Among the four major U.S. sports, only Jerry Sloan with the NBA's Utah Jazz has been with the same team longer than Fisher had been with the Titans.

Andy Reid of Philadelphia now takes over as the NFL's longest-tenured coach having finished up his 12th season with the Eagles.

Fisher coached more NFL games for one franchise than all but six Hall of Famers and ranks third among active coaches in career wins with a record of 147-126.

Fisher told members of the media Friday he's "tired" and "needs to rest."  He wouldn't say if he would accept another coaching job.

"I haven't thought about my future past this afternoon," he said.  "I have time, okay.  I will have time.  I'm going to rest and we'll just see where it goes."
Fisher declined to go into specifics about the firing of defensive coordinator and friend Chuck Cecil, or how the Titans will go about hiring his replacement.

When asked, Fisher replied, "I have all the confidence in the world in Mike [Reinfeldt] and Steve [Underwood]… I have a great deal of confidence in this organization, [and] that they will move forward."

Remarks from Titans owner Bud Adams over the phone from Houston opened Friday's press conference.

The 88-year-old Adams thanked Fisher for all he has done for the team and its fans but said there comes a time when "organizations and coaches almost always reach point where it's time to change."

He said the situation wasn't personal it was just time.

"It's time for change and I believe both the team and Jeff will benefit in the long run," he said.

Underwood said the differences between Fisher and the organization arose two to three weeks ago and when it became apparent they weren't going to be able to be resolve them, they worked out an agreement to part ways.

"We don't judge our relationships and people by the tiny failure at the end," Underwood told members of the meeting.  "You judge people by their entire tenure, in this case 17 years.  The positives with our relationship with Jeff so greatly outweigh the differences we had at the end of our relationship."

Reinfeldt reiterated, "In my four years as General Manager, I can't imagine working with a better head coach.  His expertise, optimism and his flexibility; he's everything you look for in a head coach and the last four years it's been an absolute pleasure to work with him."

What's next for the Titans?

The search to replace Fisher is already under way.  Reinfeldt and Underwood will handle the process, whose only timetable is "as long as it takes."

"We're starting anew.  We're starting fresh in a different direction.  It's good for us, Jeff and our fans," Underwood said, adding, "We've made a change, Jeff is leaving and we're going to start immediately looking for another head coach."

Reinfeldt noted Fisher's departure doesn't change the Titans' decision to either trade quarterback Vince Young or release him later this offseason.

Reinfeldt said the team planned to retain their other coaches.

"We have 13 coaches still under contract and we will honor those contracts and when we hire the new coach, he will get great discretion on who he retains and what format he retains those people," he said.

As for Underwood, his contract with the organization is up at the end of the summer and he said his current plan is to retire.

He said, "As you know, my family and I have another home in Texas.  I have a wife and children there.  I've been looking forward to retiring.  However, Mr. Adams and I have a very long term relationship.  I have worked for him as long as any executive has.  He knows full well if he wants or needs my help, I will be available to him."

*The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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