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Jeff Fisher Accepts Coaching Job In St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS (AP) A person familiar with the decision says Jeff Fisher has accepted an offer to coach the St. Louis Rams.

The person confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because the hiring hadn’t been announced.

Fisher chose the Rams over the Miami Dolphins, who also had courted him. The decision came after several days of deliberation by Fisher, who interviewed with both teams last week.

Fisher was widely considered the top prize in this winter’s coaching-search sweepstakes. He led the Titans franchise for 17 years and helped Tennessee come within a yard of winning the 2000 Super Bowl. He stepped down a year ago as the league’s longest-tenured coach, saying he needed a break, and sat out the 2011 season.

St. Louis’ offer may have trumped Miami’s for several reasons. The Rams have former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford at quarterback, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft and a favorable salary-cap situation. In addition, chief operating officer is Kevin Demoff is the son of Fisher’s agent, Marvin Demoff.

Fisher led the Titans franchise for 17 years and helped Tennessee reach the 2000 Super Bowl, where they lost. He stepped down a year ago as the league’s longest-tenured coach, saying he needed a break, and sat out the 2011 season.

Fisher had only six winning seasons with the Titans franchise, and a succession of 8-8 finishes prompted detractors to deride him as “Coach .500″ or “Coacho Ocho.” His most recent playoff victory came in January 2004, and his most recent winning record was in 2008 when the Titans squandered the No. 1 seed in the AFC by losing in the divisional round.

But Fisher led his team to at least 12 wins four times, and his career record is 142-120 (.542). He coached more games for one franchise than all but six coaches, all Hall of Famers.

The Dolphins now will turn to other candidates. They’ve interviewed Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, Chicago Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub, and Todd Bowles, Miami’s interim coach for the final three games after Tony Sparano was fired.

Sports Writer Steven Wine in Miami contributed to this report.

Updated January 13, 2012

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