TORONTO - The simmering feud between Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher and quarterback Vince Young has taken a back seat to far more important issues in the Titans organization.
The other day, Fisher informed the team that offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger has cancer and will soon begin chemotherapy treatment.
“Mike is going to be, potentially as early as today, undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment,” Fisher said, not disclosing what type of cancer that Heimerdinger was battling. “I want you all to pray for Mike, like we have been doing all morning.
“When you add the events of the weekend to that, it just doesn’t make sense. In any case, the Vince Young stuff is behind us. We’re going to move on and get ready to play a football game.”
If it were only that simple.
While the team is shocked and sobered by the news concerning the popular Heimerdinger, who was back at practice on Thursday, the Fisher-Young feud simply won’t disappear as quickly as Fisher would like.
On the same day that Fisher declared the: “Vince Young stuff is behind us”, came reports that Young sent his coach a text message where he apologized for his recent actions, a message Fisher rejected.
According to an ESPN report, Young apologized for throwing his pads into the stands and walking out of the locker room immediately after Sunday’s loss to Washington. Young also thanked Fisher for the opportunity to play for the Titans and wished him and the team good luck for the rest of the season.
“I’m not a real big text guy,” Fisher said. “I’m not really into this new-age stuff. I don’t Twitter or tweet, but I think face-to-face is a man thing.”
Now that’s a shot.
When asked if the message improved things the reply was negative.
“I don’t think so, no,” Fisher said. “Someone could have grabbed his phone and texted.”
With a 5-5 record, quarterback Rusty Smith about to make his first career start, Young lost for the season with a thumb injury, the Fisher-Young feud, an owner who appears to side with his player over his coach and now the terrible news concerning Heimerdinger, it’s hard to fathom how things could get any worse for the Titans.
EARNED HIS PRAISE
Things can change real quick in the world of sports.
Take the Buffalo Bills as the latest example.
Two weeks ago the Bills were 0-8 and the thinking was that despite their plucky play, they could be halfway home to the second 0-16 record in NFL history.
Instead, the Bills have won their past two games thanks to solid performances from a number of players with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the way.
Since taking over from Trent Edwards in the third game of the season, Fitzpatrick has been impressive, so much so that the Bills — especially if they continue their winning ways — no longer are looking at Fitzpatrick as a short-term solution.
Asked if he could imagine Fitzpatrick not being the starting quarterback next year, head coach Chan Gailey told the Buffalo Evening News: “Today? No, there’s no way.”
Did he expect Fitzpatrick to be in the mix to start next season?
“Oh sure,” Gailey said. “To be honest with you, that’d be kinda dumb not to think that, the way the guy has played. I mean, he’s played extremely well. How would you not think that?
“Hey, I don’t give anything away. Guys earn it. He’s earned it.”
The Bills face another tough opponent Sunday when they travel to Pittsburgh and with a few more wins they would be out of the running for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes in next spring’s draft. They already might be as it’s hard to see how the 1-9 Carolina Panthers can win another game.
Since taking the No. 1 job, Fitzpatrick has shown grit and tenacity and has the admiration and respect of his teammates.
But as well as he has played, the Bills need more than what Fitzpatrick can deliver.
For the franchise to rise, they need someone with a much higher ceiling.