Mike Heimerdinger did not take it personally that his phone was not ringing with job offers Tuesday afternoon.
“Most of the jobs are already filled,” he said. “I’d like to get something as soon as possible, but right now there’s nothing out there.
“People tend to forget about you in this business when you’re not working.”
Heimerdinger’s final months as Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator won’t soon be forgotten because of the unique circumstances he overcame to remain on the job.
In late November, he was diagnosed with cancer and almost immediately commenced with aggressive treatments. He put together the gameplan and called the plays in each of the final six games, and he was in attendance at virtually every practice.
Former coach Jeff Fisher presented him with a game ball following a victory over Houston on Dec. 19. Even before that, franchise management rewarded him with a contract for the coming season.
Tuesday, Fisher’s replacement, Mike Munchak, fired Heimerdinger and two others.
“Our organization is deeply appreciative of Mike’s dedication to his work, especially in light of his ongoing medical issues,” Titans executive vice president Steve Underwood said. “Once we learned in November that Mike and his family were facing difficult heath concerns, we immediately offered to extend his employment agreement so that he could focus on his recovery and work. This way, he was not facing uncertainty about his employment.
“… We will honor Mike’s existing agreement with our club and continue to wish him a complete recovery.”
Munchak and Underwood stressed that Heimerdinger’s health was not a factor in the decision.
“A new head coach will often make changes in his staff, and it is never easy to make this kind of transition,” Underwood said. “As we have made clear to our new head coach and to those we interviewed, we believe that a head coach must be given latitude in putting his staff in place.”
Even with the opportunity to get paid and focus solely on his health this fall, Heimerdinger said it is his preference to find another job.
“My health has nothing to do with this,” he said. “I’ve been cleared by my doctor to work and to do everything I normally would. I’m not even thinking about that.”
Heimerdinger said he was fired only once previously in a career that began in 1975. The University of Florida cut him loose in 1987 after five years as wide receivers coach.
The next season he was the offensive coordinator at Cal-State Fullerton.
“I was without a job for a long time – about five months,” he said. “I got one of the last jobs available that time.”
The way it looks right now, he might have to wait even longer this time.