Posted: Wednesday October 4, 2006 6:09PM; Updated: Thursday October 5, 2006 11:50AM
The Titans selected Vince Young with the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft.
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Silver: Did you have a "Vince Young Moment" when you realized the kid was special?
Fisher: The moment was on draft day, right after his arrival at the facility. It was between picks, and I was coming down to do a press conference, and he walked in and shook my hand and gave me a hug and said, "It's great to finally have teammates again. I can't wait to meet the guys." He'd gone a period of three months without being on a team, and that was the most important thing to him.
Silver: How about your other high-profile rookie, LenDale White? How have things gone with him?
Fisher:: We had a couple of rough spots in training camp, but he is a very, very good back, and I see him getting on the field a lot in the coming weeks. I had some fun with him in camp. We had held him out of the preseason opener [after a training-camp incident in which White fought with another Titans player], and the next game was at Denver, where he grew up. His mom and grandmother and a bunch of other family members were going to be at the game, and we wanted to make sure to take care of them. So I made some arrangements with Don MacLachlan, our executive vice president of administration and facilities, and I call Don and LenDale into my office. Well, LenDale just got here and has no idea who Don is -- all he sees is a guy wearing a suit. I say, "LenDale, sit down. This is Don MacLachlan of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Do you have something you need to tell him?" LenDale goes, "Uh, uh, uh." I say, "LenDale -- do you have something you need to tell him?" He goes, "Uh, Coach, uh, uh." I let him hang there for a few seconds and then I burst out laughing and say, "I got you." You should have seen the kid's face -- he was too relieved to be mad at me.
Silver: Like my father and my wife, you've demonstrated your compulsively competitive nature by running a marathon (which I could certainly do as well, if you gave me five days, frequent foot massages and an injection of motivation and self-discipline). Do you have another one in you?
Fisher: Yeah. I'll try to do one next year. Running is so important to me. I've even got a little article in Runner's World right now. It's been a weird year: Two weeks ago, on the morning of our game against the Chargers, we were staying in Del Mar and I went running on the beach and looked at the Pacific Ocean. Last week we were staying in Fort Lauderdale before we played the Dolphins and I went running next to the Atlantic. So it's hard to complain too much right now.
Silver: You've lasted 12 seasons as the head coach of the same franchise in a league that has become increasingly impatient. How have you pulled it off?
Fisher: I've been very fortunate that Mr. Adams [Bud, the Titans' owner] understands the profession; he co-founded the American Football League, so he's been around. He understands what we went through with the salary cap and what we're trying to accomplish in the very near future. We went through some tough times back in the late '90s, before we got settled here in Nashville -- times I wouldn't wish on anybody. We had a good run, and now we're trying to regroup.
Silver: There's so much talk about your future, even in the non-Internet-hit-site universe. If you had to guess, where do you think you'll be a year from now?
Fisher: A year from right now? Right here, in this room, sitting at 3-0.
Haynesworth, however, may no longer be with the Titans by then, judging by what Fisher had to say in our followup conversation on Wednesday, two days after the league had penalized him five games without pay for twice stepping on the face of Dallas center AndreGurode.
Silver: You said on Sunday that if the NFL did not discipline Haynesworth to your satisfaction, you would impose discipline on a club level. Did five games without pay meet your standard?
Fisher: Yes. When I was notified by the league, before the punishment was announced, that the penalty would be five games, I was satisfied with the disciplinary action.
Silver: When you got in Haynesworth's face as he stormed off the field, did you know what he'd done to Gurode?
Fisher: I had no idea what he had done. I knew he had done something, because I saw the back judge come into the area and throw his thumb up, like, "You're out of here." So I knew he'd been ejected, and I was trying to calm him down so he wouldn't draw another penalty. There was no place for him on the field at that time, and I just told him to get his ass off the field.
Silver: When did you see the replay?
Fisher: That night. I was appalled.
Silver: Have you thought about Haynesworth's future, specifically what will happen after the five games?
Fisher: Under the current suspension guidelines, Albert will not be permitted on the practice field at the facility or at the stadium nor is he permitted to have --contact with club officials -- during the time he is suspended. There have been and there will continue to be discussions about Albert's future with this organization. That's all I'm going to say right now.