Fisher downplays Manning jersey ordeal

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 4:28pm

Jeff Fisher’s move of wearing a Peyton Manning jersey to a charity event was still a hot topic on Wednesday, but the coach tried to downplay any after effects.

After explaining that he was simply trying to have some fun with the introduction of Tony Dungy at a fund-raiser for Rocketown and bring “some levity to the situation” regarding his 0-6 team, Fisher bristled when asked if he considered the timing of the move less than 48 hours after a 59-0 thrashing by the New England Patriots on Sunday.

“I think I’ve said enough about it, and if you want to make more about it, you can go ahead and be as critical as you want to be,” Fisher said. “I’ve said enough about it. I was simply having fun, and in retrospect, if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would do the same thing.”

Reaction to the stunt was mixed, but the majority sided with Fisher in the matter.

At least one Titans player was not amused by the decision.

“I don’t know. He said it was a joke. Funny. Whatever. It was for charity,” linebacker Keith Bulluck said.

Bulluck said Fisher explained his actions to the team.

“He’s our head coach. He doesn’t have to explain himself, but he did,” Bulluck said. “If people found it funny, then it’s funny whatever. Of course, it doesn’t sit well with everyone, but it doesn’t matter what we think. It’s one of those situations that you don’t necessarily comment on.”

Bulluck was asked if he would ever wear a Manning jersey.

“I feel like a winner anytime I put a No. 53 jersey on, so no, not at all,” the veteran linebacker said.

Fisher said the gesture was all in fun, and that moping around in the Titans’ situation is not something he will do.

“If anyone has ever heard me speak and do things, I try to capture the audience’s attention,” Fisher said. “I did that out of respect for Tony and everybody there. I think it went over very well. If anybody was offended by it, I can’t help that. I’m not gonna walk around here 0-6 with my tail between my legs. That’s just not my nature. It’s OK to have a sense of humor and have some fun.”

Tight end Bo Scaife was supportive, and said his college coach Mack Brown at Texas wouldn’t be immune to trying such a stunt.

“Coach explained it to us, and I definitely understand what he was doing,” Scaife said.. We support Coach Fisher with everything he does 100 percent. He’s a good guy, he knows what he’s doing. He’s been at this a long time. I don’t think anyone is worried about it except you guys.

“Coach Brown might do something like that. Coach Brown is a great talker, and he knows how to bring all that stuff up.”

Running back LenDale White declined comment on the Fisher jersey matter, but did say he would never don a rival jersey of his alma mater, Southern California.

“I hate UCLA. We hate UCLA and we hate Notre Dame. You will never, I don’t care if Joe Montana paid me, I’m not putting that Notre Dame jersey on,” White said.

Several players said didn’t even know about the situation until Fisher addressed it with the team on Wednesday.

“To me, I heard about it this morning, and it wasn’t a big deal. I don’t feel one way or the other about it,” defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said.

Defensive end Jevon Kearse, who had his own turn in the spotlight for leaving as a healthy scratch before the Titans played the Colts two weeks ago, agreed.

“I guess he was just having fun. I didn’t hear about it until he said something about it today. He can wear what he wants to wear. That’s him,” Kearse said. “We saw it as he was doing something for Tony Dungy, and that’s one of Tony Dungy’s guys. I guess he was trying to lighten up the mood or something.”

Kearse was asked his reaction to Fisher’s line about wanting “to feel like a winner,” and was surprised by that part.

“I didn’t catch that part, but I know this week since it’s our bye week, we can’t lose this week,” he said.

11 Comments on this post:

By: jps13pat on 10/21/09 at 11:44

I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this too. I think it was ill timed and not very well thought out. Fisher said that he's not going to walk around with his tail between his legs, and that he was just trying to make light of the situation to be funny. Problem is, there's nothing funny about going 0-6; especially the year after your team went 13-3. There's a lot of ticked off people in Tennessee (I'm one of them), and as the head coach, Jeff should be madder than any of us about what's going on in the locker room and on the field.

However, it was for charity and he's trying to lighten the mood so that people would give. Don't you think there's a better way to accomplish that than to don a rival's jersey and joke about "wanting to feel like a winner?"

The thing that is starting to worry me is Fisher's ego. He is one of the best coaches in the league, and he knows it. He is not worried about getting fired, because he knows he'll find another head coaching job in the NFL. Especially after Bud came out and said what he said, I wonder if Jeff is thinking "To h*** with this team and this organization. I don't need 'em." You often hear about players quitting on their coaches. I wonder if Coach Fisher is quitting on his team.

By: Alphadog7 on 10/22/09 at 6:18

Must be a bye week. I can't believe this is even a story.

By: pandabear on 10/22/09 at 6:27

I agree.
Let's just let the whole world know how backward and ignorant
we are by making a big deal out of this.

By: govskeptic on 10/22/09 at 8:48

The fact that sports radio needs air time to fill, is no
reason the print media needs to follow. Lighten up
Nashville----On a 1-10 scale this is a 1/2.

By: jps13pat on 10/22/09 at 9:15

I guarantee that this topic was their most viewed story yesterday. If you don't think it's a big deal, that's fine. I happen to think there's an enlightening undertone behind Jeff Fisher's actions. I am not, however, "backward and ignorant" as pandabear would have you believe. If a regional manager for McDonald's was putting on a charity luncheon and then stood up donning a Wendy's uniform touting, "I just want to know what it's like to cook a good hamburger," you don't think that manager would be sat down and talked to by his superiors?

By: shrub on 10/22/09 at 9:15

Bo Scaife says he could see Mack Brown doing a similar stunt. If Texas was having a losing season and Mack Brown donned a Sam Bradford jersey and said he wanted to feel like a winner, (or a Texas A&M jersey), Texas fans would tar and feather him.

By: maych on 10/22/09 at 9:45

OH PLEAZZZZZ. . .Football fans who take the GAME much too seriously. . .Give Jeff Fisher a MAJOR break. Thank goodness he has a sense of humor and has the GAME in perspective.

I believe the Titan players will get this as well. . . .

No one has relayed Coach Dungy's response: "You have a good coach here. Jeff Fisher. He and the team are going through some hard times, but they will bounce back. I played against Jeff many times over the years. I always knew he would do a "surprise" play like an on side kick. So today, I am not surprised that he introduced me in a Peyton Manning Indianapolis jersey."

Coaches are human beings, sports fans. Please read Coach Dungy's first book, Quiet Strength.

By: pswindle on 10/22/09 at 11:03

Fisher was trying to put a little hunor in the day. By losing this many games, he needs to put something in the tmix. I thought it was a little funny.

By: gratefulted on 10/22/09 at 1:03

I am neither offended, nor unoffended. He is an American, and has the right to do whatever he wants to do. I am glad he felt good to be associated with a "winner". At best, this act is Stupid and Unprofessional. Assumimg that Fisher had not lost credibility with this team before, this seals the deal.

By: titansfb on 10/22/09 at 2:04

IF the Titans had a winning record we would not be getting this much media attention. Therefore everything the players, coaches, owner and fans do is under every watchful eye and will be picked apart and analyzed to be more than it really is. Good grief!

By: courier37027 on 10/22/09 at 4:56

Got a laugh from 104.5 The Homer. Willy cited a poll that measured fan anger on Fisher/Manning uniform issue. When Plaz and Darren guessed 70 to 75% of people were outraged, Willy brogut them back to earth with a 34% outrage factor. I think NCP poll was 80/20 of same mind as not outraged. Willy got out of the way while Plaz operated with just one echo. TITAN1, there was your chance for an audition. Come to think of it, maybe John McClain posts as TITAN1 and his multiple online personas.