The atmosphere was so cordial at the Titans’ headquarters Friday it was hard to tell that Jeff Fisher was leaving the team.
He stood behind the podium in Nashville, Tenn., thanking everyone in the building before leaving with a wave. Tennessee’s top executives expressed their gratitude for his work over the years, then discussed how they will replace Fisher after mutually agreeing they had reached a point where “it was time to move on” after 16 full seasons.
Fisher declined to address details about the decision, but acknowledged some differences with the team. He also looked much more relaxed Friday morning than in weeks, calling it the best decision after two difficult seasons.
The Titans rebounded from a 0-6 start to finish 8-8 in 2009, then wasted a 5-2 start in 2010 by losing eight of the final 10 games for a 6-10 record.
“I’ve been coaching for 25 years, and it’s time. I need a break,” Fisher said. “And I think timing-wise this is a perfect opportunity to do this so the organization can move forward with their plan, and I’ll move forward with whatever happens in the future.”
The team announced the split Thursday night, shocking players, assistant coaches and the rest of the NFL because owner Bud Adams announced three weeks ago he’d decided to keep Fisher for the final year of his contract.
Injuries up in 2010
The NFL players union says the average number of injuries has risen during the 2010 season.
In a report called “Dangers of the Game of Football,” the NFLPA said injuries increased from 3.2 to 3.7 per week per team and the share of players injured increased to 63 percent compared to a 2002-09 average of 59 percent.
The report also shows that 13 percent of all injuries required players to be placed on injured reserve this season, compared to an average of 10 percent for 2002-2009.
The analysis is based on data from NFL Weeks 1 through 16 from Football Outsiders, which compiles information from the publicly available weekly injury reports.
Steelers return to field
Cornerback Bryant McFadden, safety Troy Polamalu and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders returned to practice for the first time since last week.
McFadden strained his abdomen during a win over Baltimore in the divisional round but played Sunday in a diminished role. Sanders, a rookie, has an injured foot. Polamalu has been bothered by an Achilles tendon injury.
Irvin settles lawsuit
Former Dallas Cowboys star Michael Irvin has settled a Florida lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed he sexually assaulted her at a hotel in 2007.
The confidential settlement was announced at a hearing before a Miami federal judge, who still must approve it. The woman’s attorney declined comment. Irvin is listed as representing himself but did not attend the hearing.