Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Del Rio Is Fed Up with Fisher

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Del Rio Is Fed Up with Fisher

Article excerpt


Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio has heard just about enough from Tennessee Titans counterpart Jeff Fisher.

Del Rio said Monday that he is puzzled by Fisher's repeated verbal digs at the Jaguars in a feud that began before Del Rio's arrival in Jacksonville three years ago.

"He must be talking to somebody else here, because I just don't know what to make of the comments he's always making about Jacksonville,'' Del Rio said. "He either has a buddy here, [or] he's talking through code or something. I'm not sure I get it.''

Fisher, whose team faces the Jaguars on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both teams, drew a response from Del Rio for his comments last week in an interview on satellite radio.

Fisher told Sirius radio that he hoped the Houston Texans would beat the Jaguars last Saturday so the Titans could knock Jacksonville out of the playoffs this week. Instead, Fisher's hopes were thwarted by a 38-20 Jacksonville victory that clinched the Jaguars' first postseason berth since 1999.

"He's been a successful coach for a long time,'' Del Rio said of Fisher. "I would think it would be out of character for a guy who has been a successful coach for as long as he has. It almost sounds desperate.''

When the comments were relayed, Fisher told The (Nashville) Tennessean that Del Rio had been misled.

"I didn't say anything offensive to him," Fisher said. "I think . . . there is a misunderstanding here because I simply stated last week . . . that [if] Jacksonville would need to win their last game to get into the playoffs, what better motivation would it be for our team, that has been out of the playoff race for two months?''

Fisher, who has coached the Titans franchise for the past 12 seasons, has made the Jaguars the frequent subject of sarcastic comments since 1999. Tennessee beat the Jaguars three times that season, including in the AFC Championship Game in Jacksonville, prompting Fisher to say Alltel Stadium was one of the Titans' home fields.

Fisher continued to needle the Jaguars even after Del Rio replaced Tom Coughlin in 2003, much to Del Rio's dismay since he and Fisher both played football for USC.

Asked if he thought Fisher held a personal grudge against him, Del Rio responded: "I don't think so,'' he said, tapping his fist to his chest. "We're fellow Trojans. We're tight.''

Said Fisher: "We're fine.''


Del Rio indicated that he doesn't plan to rest his starters against Tennessee, even though the game is meaningless to the Jaguars' playoff position.

"We want to win,'' he said. "It's a divisional game. It's our opportunity to win our 12th game. It's our opportunity to win our sixth game here at home. We have a 6-2 road record. We have a chance to be 6-2 at home. We would like that.''

Del Rio said a decision on which starters, if any, would be given the day off wouldn't be made until later in the week. …

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