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Fisher's departure quiet, stunning

NASHVILLE — The atmosphere was so cordial at the Titans' headquarters Friday that it was hard to tell that Jeff Fisher was leaving the team.

He stood on the podium thanking everyone in the building. Tennessee's top executives expressed their gratitude for his work 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.

"It is just time for a change," owner Bud Adams said Friday by phone from his Houston office.

Fisher declined to address details about the decision but acknowledged some differences with the team.

The Titans rebounded from an 0-6 start to finish 8-8 in 2009 then wasted a 5-2 start in 2010 and finished 6-10.

"I've been coaching for 25 years, and it's time. I need a break," Fisher said. " … I'll move forward with whatever happens in the future."

Adams had announced three weeks ago he would keep Fisher for the final year of his contract.

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. Andy Reid takes over as the NFL's longest-tenured coach with one team, having finished his 12th season with the Eagles.

REPORT ON INJURY REPORT: The NFL players union says the average number of injuries rose this season. An NFLPA report says injuries increased from 3.2 to 3.7 per week per team and the share of players injured increased to 63 percent compared with a 2002-09 average of 59 percent. The analysis is based on data from Weeks 1 to 16 from Football Outsiders, which compiles information from the publicly available weekly injury reports.

IRVIN SETTLES: Former Cowboys star Michael Irvin settled a Florida lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed he sexually assaulted her at a hotel in 2007. A Miami federal judge still must approve the confidential settlement. The woman's attorney declined comment. Irvin, a former star in college at Miami, was listed as representing himself but did not attend the hearing.

BERRIAN CASE: A California couple who found Bernard Berrian's Blackberry in October allegedly threatened to sell its contents to the "highest bidder" unless the Vikings receiver paid them $30,000. Attorneys for Berrian outlined the allegations in a lawsuit unsealed Thursday in federal court in Minnesota against Ron Jones and his girlfriend, Clarice Lankford.

Fisher's departure quiet, stunning 01/28/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 28, 2011 11:01pm]
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