Jeff Fisher still has his job. For now.
The Tennessee Titans’ head coach, currently the NFL’s longest-tenured sideline boss, acknowledged Monday a “unique” set of circumstances surrounding the end of the 2010 season that includes the possibility he might be replaced before the start of next season.
He also expressed confidence that two other senior members of the organization, general counsel and executive assistant to chairman of the board Steve Underwood and executive vice president and general manager Mike Reinfeldt, support the idea that Fisher should remain on the job, at least for the remainder of his current contract, which has one more season.
Underwood and Reinfeldt were in Houston on Monday and met with owner Bud Adams, in what looks to be a concerted effort to keep Fisher in place. Any significant decisions regarding staff or personnel — namely the future of quarterback Vince Young — were placed on hold indefinitely.
“I met for several hours [Monday] with Steve Underwood and Mike Reinfeldt about our organization and where we go from here,” Adams said in a statement released by the team. “I will continue to review all aspects of what we do as a football team, including the coaching staff and other decisions that are in front of us.
“There are several things that need to be considered in this evaluation process, including Jeff’s history with our team, the labor situation and other challenges. I have been at this for a long time, and these decisions take time and thoughtful consideration. I will make the decisions that I feel are in the best interest of the team. I do understand the time element involved and would expect to make these decisions in the near future.
“In the meantime, I will continue to be in contact with Jeff and the senior staff for any additional information that I may need.”
Fisher is the franchise’s all-time winningest coach with a career 147-126 record. He also is the only coach ever to take the team to a Super Bowl, which he did in the 1999 season.
However, the Titans have not won a playoff game since 2003 and have gone 54-58, capped by a 6-10 mark in 2010, in the seven seasons that have followed.
“I’m in a situation here, probably for the first time in my career, where there’s curiosity regarding my tenure here,” Fisher said. “It is a process and we’re going to continue to discuss it. We have some difficult decisions to make, and we’ll continue with that.
“I’ve got a great working relationship with [Reinfeldt] and [Underwood] and we all do with Mr. Adams. This is what’s in the best interests of this organization and collectively. We will come to a conclusion.”
It was clear in what Fisher did not say that Young’s status is the primary factor in his own future with the team he has led since late in 1994, when he replaced Jack Pardee with six games to go.
Any and all questions about Young’s current or future standing in the organization were deflected.
“I’ll address the quarterback situation when the decision is made,” Fisher said.
Earlier in the day, many players were hopeful that Fisher and Young could coexist.
Fisher did offer expansive thoughts about Kerry Collins and the fact that he would welcome back the veteran quarterback, at least as a backup.
The only thing he revealed in regard to Young was that the player, who finished the season on injured reserve, was one of the few who did not show up Monday for exit interviews.
“He was never instructed not to come in,” Fisher said. “We have about 13 players on injured reserve. We had about half of them come in [Monday]; half did not.”
Fisher said that he had no immediate plans to travel to Houston for a face-to-face meeting with Adams but conceded it was possible that could happen before the end of the week. He also said it is likely that changes could be made to his coaching staff and that he planned to be the one to make any such moves.
“We’re in this situation because of wins and losses over the last couple of years,” Fisher said. “Had we been practicing this week [for a playoff game] we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We’re not. Nor were we last year. So this is the situation we’re in. It’s the nature of this business.
“I have a great deal of confidence in [Reinfeldt] and respect for Mr. Adams to understand that it makes no sense to rush off to swift judgment in situations like this.”
Apparently it makes sense to figure out what the organization plans to do at quarterback first.