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Jeee Fisher heads to the Persian Gulf


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Jeff Fisher headed to Persian Gulf for morale-building tour :wacko:


By Jim Wyatt



Not long after the 2008 season ended, Titans Coach Jeff Fisher got a call from the commissioner’s office.


No, Fisher wasn’t being reprimanded for criticizing officials following his team’s playoff loss to Baltimore. Instead, the league called to gauge his interest in traveling overseas to meet service members as part of the inaugural NFL-USO Coaches Tour.


“I was asked to think about it and I didn’t think about it long,’’ Fisher said. “To me, it’s a privilege to go.’’


So Fisher, his team’s offseason minicamps now completed and training camp a month away, is preparing for a week-long trip to the Persian Gulf. He’ll join Giants Coach Tom Coughlin, former Steelers Coach Bill Cowher, Ravens Coach John Harbaugh and former Raiders and Buccaneers Coach Jon Gruden on the morale-building visit overseas.


“I’ve been told many times their gratitude and appreciation for us making the effort is overwhelming and to me that is backwards. We are going over there to show our gratitude and appreciation,’’ Fisher said.


“And everyone that I have talked to that has been over there in recent years, even decades ago, say it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the experience is one of the best things they have ever done. It is an opportunity for me to go over there and get a perspective of what all those servicemen and women are doing to protect our country. Our relationship with Fort Campbell and the interaction we’ve had over the years, this is an opportunity to take it a step further.’’


The Titans have had a strong relationship with the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Ky., over the years. The team visits the base annually on the Titans Caravan, and Fisher took the entire team to Fort Campbell during training camp in 2006. Also, last season Fisher parachuted to the Titans practice field with several soldiers.


For safety reasons, Fisher said he’s not allowed to talk about specific departure dates, or the exact location of where he’s headed. He hasn’t even been given an itinerary himself. He has, however, been told to pack for warm weather — the average temperature should be between “115 and 130 degrees” each day, he said.


The NFL and USO have been involved in trips to visit troops for more than 40 years. In the last four decades, NFL stars such as Terry Bradshaw, Larry Csonka, Franco Harris, Johnny Unitas and others visited service members in locations such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Japan, Korea, Kuwait and Somalia. A year ago, Commissioner Roger Goodell joined NFL players on a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan, and four other players, including Minnesota’s Jared Allen and Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, traveled to Iraq and Kuwait to visit troops.


Titans fullback Ahmard Hall, who served four years in the Marines and took part in mission in Kosovo and Afghanistan, said the visits mean a lot to the soldiers.


“We had people come to our base and it was always a great feeling to see celebrities come in,’’ Hall said. “It’s going to be huge. They love people coming over there just to boost the morale, anything that will break up the monotony of training and everything they have to do. It is just an awesome feeling.


“And it also lets them know they are not forgotten and people appreciate what they are doing. In the military, when you are so far away and have been over there a while, you think people have forgotten about you and don’t care about you.’’


In 2007, Titans cornerback Nick Harper spent 10 days in Iraq as part of the Gridiron Greats Tour. He visited 10 bases in all, and spoke with soldiers.


Fisher talked with Harper recently about some things he should expect. Harper, who’d just won a Super Bowl ring with the Colts when he made his trip, remembers being greeted with open arms. He said his head coach should expect the same.


“The soldiers would come out and you could see the gleam in their eyes, how much it meant to them and lifted them up. To know that people back home cared about them and what they are doing,’’ Harper said. “It was a good experience for me, and some of the things I got to see and the things I got to do are some things I never thought I’d get to do in my life.’’

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Very cool. Those guys will be stoked to meet some NFL coaches. When I was in the Persian Gulf back in Desert Shield/Storm, I was stuck on a ship and those opportunities for USO events rarely presented themselves. Kudo's to them all.

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Very cool. Those guys will be stoked to meet some NFL coaches. When I was in the Persian Gulf back in Desert Shield/Storm, I was stuck on a ship and those opportunities for USO events rarely presented themselves. Kudo's to them all.

You didn't amuse yourself with the WUBAs? :wacko:

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