In an unexpected development in what already has been a turbulent offseason in Tennessee, the Titans and Jeff Fisher, the NFL's longest-tenured head coach, are preparing to part ways, SI.com learned Thursday afternoon.
According to an NFL source close to the situation in Tennessee, the move could be announced as early as Friday, although it's uncertain if Fisher's departure will be termed a firing, a resignation or a mutual parting of ways.
Though information about Fisher's situation was scarce Thursday, it was confirmed by a league source that he will not return to coach the team in 2011, contrary to what was previously expected. Fisher was said to be in the process of negotiating the terms of his departure with Titans owner Bud Adams.
According to a league source, only Adams, Fisher, Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt and team general counsel Steve Underwood were aware of the finer details of Fisher's imminent departure early Thursday evening. Members of the Titans front office could not be reached for comment Thursday, but SI.com was in contact with a member of the Titans public relations staff, who could not confirm the news.
Fisher has been on the job with the Houston/Tennessee organization since being named interim head coach late in the 1994 season, and he was expected to return for a 17th full season this year. But Fisher's future with the team was considered somewhat tenuous given that he was entering the final year of his contract, and Adams did not decide to retain him until Jan. 7, five days after Tennessee closed out a disappointing 6-10 season -- the Titans' worst since 2005.