In a move that will mean a major reshuffling in the Tennessee Titans' front office, and perhaps more power for coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Floyd Reese on Friday tendered his resignation.
The departure of Reese, who served the past 13 seasons as the Titans' top football executive, was not unexpected. Reese was in the final year of his contract, which was to expire early next month, and there had been only casual discussions about a possible extension.
Reese also held the titles of executive vice president and director of football operations. In his combined roles, Reese was charged with overseeing essentially all of the Tennessee football operation, outside of the on-field coaching.
"I had hopes of signing a contract extension and staying with
the Titans for many more years, but it became apparent to me over
the last several months that that would be difficult," Reese said
in a statement released by the team.
"Rather than drag out a process that would probably end up with
us going our separate ways, the right thing to do is to cut ties
now and let the Titans move on and me as well."
Reese has been with the franchise for 21 years, going back to
its origins as the Houston Oilers.
Last weekend, owner Bud Adams exercised an option on Fisher's contract for the 2007 season. While there has been some talk of a long-term extension for Fisher, those negotiations have not advanced very much, and it appears no deal is imminent. If Fisher does not sign an extension for beyond 2007, he would be a coaching free agent after the season.
The exit of Reese, however, could provide Adams another bargaining chip in his attempt to retain Fisher, one of the game's most respected coaches, beyond 2007. It might allow Adams, for instance, to offer Fisher enhanced control over personnel decisions.
Fisher has never publicly sought more control over personnel matters, but there have been some rough spots between him and Reese in the past. It is not known if Reese will be a candidate for other jobs in the NFL or how the Titans will address his departure.
Reese has always been a solid talent evaluator, in recent years had to deal with salary cap excesses that forced Tennessee to dramatically overhaul its roster.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this story.