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Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Munchak's first move: Heimerdinger out

By Paul Kuharsky

Mike Munchak’s made his first big decision as Titans coach. According to Jim Wyatt, Munchak will have a new offensive coordinator. He’s fired Mike Heimerdinger.

“Mike is going to do what is best for Titans," Heimerdinger told Wyatt. "I know it is part of the business ... I appreciate my time here. Every head coach has to make their decisions and this was his."

Too many people are marveling that one of the team’s four candidate for Jeff Fisher’s old job is now out of work. But once Munchak was hired, he was not asked to line up with the existing one-year contracts for assistant coaches.

Executive vice president Steve Underwood and general manager Mike Reinfeldt viewed Heimerdinger as a potential head coach. That’s a separate deal from Munchak keeping Heimerdinger as his offensive coordinator.

I think Heimerdinger is an excellent coach who had a bad year, failing to do enough to get Chris Johnson opportunities in space in the passing game and unable to get his middling quarterbacks to force the ball to Randy Moss after the team acquired him on waivers.

Heimerdinger handled his fight against cancer that began during the season with absolute grace: showing football coach stoicism and missing virtually no time with the team.

What’s next for him? It’s hard to guess considering most staffs around the league are filled.

Who’s in line to replace him? Munchak emphasized that he wants a staff filled with teachers, and odds are the new guy will be grooming a draft pick while overseeing a veteran newcomer.

Whoever he is, he’ll now have at least a small voice in selecting who those quarterbacks are.

Wyatt also says the Titans will interview Bruce Matthews for the offensive line job. Matthews had a two year offer from the Texans to remain as an assistant offensive line coach, but has not signed it, Wyatt reports.

UPDATE (3:15 p.m.): The team sent out an official announcement that Heimerdinger, offensive assistant Richie Wessman and defensive assistant Rayna Stewart will not be retained.

Munchak on Heimerdinger: "I have a great deal of respect for him as a person and admiration for the way he is fighting against cancer. He is an innovative offensive mind and we have worked well through the years, but I believe we need to go in a different direction at offensive coordinator. This wasn’t about his health -- he is feeling good -- it is a change of direction for us. This is not something that I take lightly and I wish him and his family the best.”