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Monday, May 30, 2016

Fisher ready to rebuild the Rams

Thursday, January 19, 2012

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- About a month and a half ago, Jeff Fisher began scouting teams that were likely to have coaching vacancies. Watching video of the St. Louis Rams as they wound up a depressing three-year run under Steve Spagnuolo, Fisher saw potential.

"There's a really solid nucleus here," Fisher said. "Yes, there is."

Fisher perceived commitment, too, after spending time with owner Stan Kroenke. The usually camera-shy Kroenke reinforced that impression when he introduced Fisher to media on Tuesday.

"Jeff and I both put our names on a contract upstairs that will keep him here for a good while, and we're really excited about that," Kroenke said. He added that "the more we talked, the more comfortable we got."

Fisher agreed to a five-year contract worth a reported $7 million per season late last week. Before the dollar amount was discussed, Fisher and the Rams had to agree on a list of about two dozen items, including the makeup of the coaching staff and front office.

At least for now, Fisher doesn't have an additional title such as president of football operations.

"My decision was very, very simple," Fisher said. "It was based on a shared collective vision in restoring this franchise to a place of significance. It was that vision that made my decision very, very easy."

Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, who attended the news conference along with quarterback Sam Bradford, was impressed with Fisher's 17-year stay in Tennessee, and the Titans' reputation for toughness.

"That means he knows how to handle many personalities, he knows how to really relate to the players," Laurinaitis said. "He's was a player, he's been through those battles, he's been through training camps. He still knows what it means to be sore, to go through that rigorous process. I think it's instant respect."

During his interview in St. Louis, Fisher met with Bradford.

"Obviously, he's a tremendous coach," Bradford said. "Everyone that I've talked to that's ever played for him said that he's a great, great person to play for."

And now comes the challenge. The Rams finished 2-14 this year, tied for the NFL's worst, and have won all of 15 games the last five seasons.

Fisher said reports the Dolphins were his first choice were not true. And despite the Rams' struggles in recent seasons, Fisher said he doesn't think they're that far off. He said the Rams have holes but didn't want to discuss specifics.

The possibility of the Rams relocating in a few seasons was not a major factor in Fisher's decision. Kroenke can move the franchise after the 2014 season if the Edward Jones Dome is not deemed among the top quarter of stadiums in the NFL.

Kroenke was non-committal on the issue, noting that the city's Convention and Visitors Commission is due to make a proposal for potential upgrades on Feb. 1. He did make a reference to his investment in St. Louis.

"I've been around here a long time," Kroenke said. "Contrary to a lot of reports, I haven't taken a lot of jack out of the market. I have put a lot of jack into the market. We'll see how that process works out."

Fisher will have a role in the hiring of a general manager, and said several times that decision-making will be a collaborative effort. The Rams have targeted about a dozen candidates.

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