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Jeff Fisher looking forward to return to Tennessee

Jeff Fisher downplayed the return to Nashville but did acknowledge that he still holds a special place for his time with the Titans. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The Tennessee Titans plan to pay homage to St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher when the teams meet in Sunday night's preseason game. The plan is apparently for a video tribute to be shown at some point during or before the game, not that Fisher will get much of a chance to stop and watch.

"That's the first that I've heard of it," Fisher said. "So I'll probably miss it. Coaches on the sideline don't watch stuff on the board."

But that doesn't mean Fisher's first trip back to the place where he spent 16 and a half years of his coaching career doesn't hold some meaning for Fisher. Sunday marks Fisher's first time coaching in Tennessee since he and the Titans parted ways after the 2010 season.

Not one to show much emotion, Fisher downplayed the return to Nashville but did acknowledge that he still holds a special place for his time with the Titans.

"You know, it's a preseason game and it's an opportunity for us to get better," Fisher said. "I had great memories down there, but obviously it's been a while. I guess I'd say I'd rather go down there for a preseason game than a regular game, but we're looking forward to it. There's some other guys in addition to myself that have some special memories there."

Indeed, the Rams have seven members of the coaching staff and five players who at one time or another spent time with the Titans organization but none have the longstanding history that Fisher shares with the franchise.

Fisher coached the Titans from midway through the 1994 seasons through 2010. In that time, he led Tennessee to six playoff appearances, three division titles, two AFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance. He won 147 games, the most in franchise history.

It's those wins, and the players who helped him get them, that Fisher points to as his fondest recollections.

"I have great memories," Fisher said. "The thing reflecting back, it's the relationships with the players. All of the players that came through there, getting through the move process, the relocation process, and then the '99 season and the 2000 season, where I think we had a better team than we did in '99. It didn't work out for us. It's a great organization. I owe a tremendous amount to the Adams family for the opportunity. We won a lot of games down there."

While this is Fisher's first trip back as a coach of a different team -- namely the one that beat Tennessee in that Super Bowl -- it's not his first trip back to Nashville. Fisher kept his property in the area and makes it back every once in awhile, including for the annual charity golf tournament held in honor of former offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, who died from cancer in 2011.

As with most divorces, Fisher says he's unsure of what kind of reception he'll get upon returning to Tennessee. So instead, he's opting to deflect the focus to his team.

"I don't know what to expect," Fisher said. "I just know we're going to go down there, focus on trying to get better and play time and keep people healthy and playing hard. [Titans coach] Ken [Whisenhunt] has done a good job down there and they have an outstanding, young quarterback. So it'll be a good challenge for our defense."

Nearly five years removed, it's probably safe to expect that Fisher will be greeted warmly as the positive memories of winning linger longer than anything else.