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Titans' Fisher out as coach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In a surprising move, the Tennessee Titans have parted ways with Jeff Fisher, who was the NFL's longest-tenured coach.

The team said in a release Thursday night that "Fisher will no longer be the head coach of the team."

The Titans announced the move within an hour of a report by SI.com that they were negotiating Fisher's departure and released a longer statement a couple hours later saying they will always appreciate his leadership through some of their "greatest heights" during 16 full seasons as coach.

"It became evident that consensus was increasingly hard to find and reality wasn't matching the vision we discussed. It is unfortunate that this decision is coming at this juncture, but we believe that we have reached the point where change is in the best interest of both parties," according to the statement.

Though the 52-year-old Fisher had been derided locally as "Coach .500" or "Coacho Ocho," he seemingly had just survived a battle with quarterback Vince Young. Adams decided to either release Young or trade him on Jan. 5. The owner announced two days later that he would be keeping Fisher.

Fisher and Young never really jelled in five seasons together after the Titans drafted the former Texas standout with the third overall pick in 2006 under orders from Adams. The relationship frayed even as Fisher publicly defended Young until Nov. 21 when the situation boiled over.

Young tossed his shoulder pads and other equipment into the stands after an overtime loss in which the quarterback suffered a season-ending injury.

Running back Chris Johnson said Wednesday while practicing in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl he didn't think Fisher or Young could work together after "it hit the fan."

In the end, neither Fisher nor Young survived with the Titans.

Even though Adams announced he was sticking with Fisher for the final year of his contract the move meant Fisher would be coaching for his future in 2011. Fisher has repeatedly said he wanted to finish his career with the franchise, but the coach known for never losing his cool in public while hiding behind his sunglasses may have decided Adams' decision wasn't good enough.

Fisher thanked Adams and the franchise for "a special 17 years" in a statement released by the team.

"It has been a tremendous experience. We all did our very best and I think I can look back with fond memories and be very proud of what we accomplished. I want to wish the organization, the current players and the fans nothing but the best in the future."

The team scheduled a news conference for Friday with Fisher expected to attend to discuss the first coaching change since the franchise relocated to Tennessee from Houston in 1997. One of the leading candidates to replace Fisher is Mike Munchak, the Titans offensive line coach.

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

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Around the league

*Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers has been fined $10,000 by the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship game that drew blood from the Green Bay quarterback.

*Champ Bailey is heading to his 10th Pro Bowl, a record for cornerbacks. The Denver Broncos captain was notified by the NFL on Thursday that he was being added to the AFC roster for Sunday's game, replacing Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha, who is bowing out for medical reasons.

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