Titans want to talk to Heimerdinger about O-coordinator job
In a move aimed at solidifying the future of franchise quarterback Vince Young, the Tennessee Titans are looking to their past and are pursuing former offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger to fill the vacancy created by the firing of Norm Chow earlier this week.
Heimerdinger, 55, is currently the Denver Broncos' assistant head coach/quarterbacks. The Titans were granted permission to talk with Heimerdinger, who previously was the offensive coordinator for Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher for five seasons (2000-04), and the Broncos gave permission on Wednesday.
It is believed that Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who calls the offensive plays for his team, will not stand in the way if Heimerdinger, who is under contract, wants to return to the Titans for a second stint on Fisher's staff. Should Heimerdinger depart, Denver would likely pursue former Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey to replace him, the Rocky Mountain News reported.
Gailey, who was fired by Georgia Tech last month, has been an offensive coordinator and head coach at the NFL level in the past. He was recently interviewed by San Francisco for the offensive coordinator opening that was eventually filled by Mike Martz. Gailey is also a candidate for the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive coordinator spot.
He previously worked six seasons for the Broncos.
Chow was dismissed by Fisher after three years and following a 2007 season in which Young regressed. The Tennessee offense statistically ranked just 21st in the league in 2007 and was No. 27 in passing. Young threw just nine touchdown passes and compiled a quarterback rating of only 71.1.
Were he to move to the Titans, Heimerdinger would almost certainly have full control of the offensive game-planning and the play-calling during games, responsibilities he does not possess on Shanahan's staff.
In his earlier stint in Denver, Heimerdinger was the wide receivers coach for five seasons (1995-99), before moving to Tennessee as offensive coordinator in 2000. After five years with the Titans, he became the New York Jets' offensive coordinator in 2005. The Jets went 4-12 and Heimerdinger was passed over for the head coaching job that went to Eric Mangini. Days later, he was back in Denver with Shanahan, his former college roommate.
Even after his departure, Heimerdinger and Fisher remained close friends.
If Heimerdinger exits, he would become the second high-level assistant to depart the Broncos since the end of the season. Defensive coordinator Jim Bates recently resigned after declining to accept a demotion to linebackers coach and was replaced by secondary coach Bob Slowik.
Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.