Laughs Abound as Fisher Roasted for Charity

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. --** Some heavy hitters in the sports broadcast and journalism industry, both locally and nationally, came out in support of Jeff Fisher Monday night as the Titans' head coach was roasted during The Friends of Cumberland Heights' annual fundraiser at the Renaissance Hotel.

Fisher, who absorbed humorous comments ranging from his hair and mustache to his modest playing career, was often seen laughing as he sat back and took in all of the shots in the name of charity. By the end of the night, he was touched by the great support he received to help an outstanding charitable cause.

"I came to town 12 years ago and I never thought I would have been as fortunate as I am to have met so many great people involved in so many wonderful charities," said Fisher, who survived his first roast in Nashville. "I want to thank everybody that came out to support this cause. It was a wonderful night. It meant an awful lot to me to be here. I was told to sit down, be quiet and enjoy the evening because it was going to be a lot of fun, and it truly was."

Friends of Cumberland Heights is an education and advocacy organization that supports Cumberland Heights, one of the Southeast's oldest and most experienced alcohol and chemical dependency treatment facilities. Fisher proved to be a good sport in offering to take ribbing from friends as a way of showing his support for Cumberland Heights and the contributions it makes to youth and adults in Middle Tennessee.

A star-studded lineup of roasters included ESPN insider Chris Mortensen, ESPN analyst Merril Hoge, Houston Chronicle sportswriter John McClain, Titans Radio analyst Frank Wycheck, The Wakeup Zone's Mark Howard, WKRN news anchor John Dwyer, WNSR talk show host Thom Abraham, Titans strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson and Dr. Chuck Krueger, the team chiropractor of the Chicago Bears during Fisher's playing tenure in Chicago. In addition, Fisher's father, Roger, was in attendance.

 

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"I came out tonight because I have enormous respect for Jeff," said Hoge, who played eight seasons in the NFL and is featured on ESPN's NFL Live, NFL Matchup and Sunday NFL Countdown. "The highest compliment I could ever give any coach is that I would like to play for him, and I'd love to play for Jeff. I understand the kind of coach he is, how he conducts his team and what he expects from his team."

Mortensen, an award-winning journalist and 18-year NFL insider reporter and analyst for ESPN, said it was an easy decision at first to accept Fisher's request to participate – until the Titans signed his son, Alex, as a free agent quarterback following the draft.

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"I'm going to be professional about this Jeff, you know that. But I've got to warn you – if you think about cutting Alex at any point, my wife, Mickey's maiden name is Eastwood. So go ahead, make her day," Mortensen cracked.

"In all seriousness, Jeff Fisher is really one of the good people in this league and he's so active in the community with these types of charitable causes. He is one of the most easy-going guys…if Jeff Fisher comes calling, you answer the call."

In addition to the talent on hand, Fisher received numerous video messages from various celebrities that couldn't be in attendance, including ESPN's Chris Berman, country music icon Hank Williams, Jr. and Christian singer Michael W. Smith..

"Our good friend Jeff Fisher just doesn't get the message," Berman said on the opening video. "Mike Holmgren had a great football career as head coach and decided to call it quits. Tony Dungy -- another man that has won a Super Bowl and had a great career as a head coach in the National Football League has decided to call it quits. Jeff Fisher? Hello?

"I go a long way to roast him because he's a lot closer to 150 wins than he is to 100 wins and that's unbelievable."

Among the highlights from Monday night:

"Jeff made a key contribution to our championship season of 1985. When he was injured and out for the season, we knew that our chances to win the Super Bowl were greatly enhanced."

- Chuck Kreuger on what former Bears DT Dan Hampton said about Fisher


"...I've got to be honest with you, if it wasn't for Jeff Fisher, I wouldn't have this opportunity to perform once again, and that's the kind of guy we have in Jeff Fisher. Not just a coach, not a mentor, not just a guy who takes the team to the doorstep and breaks our hearts year-in and year-out. It's more than that. He cares about his community, he cares about his players."

- Thom Abraham, WNSR Radio


Top 10 things heard from Jeff Fisher's inner-sanctum, as told by Mark Howard and Frank Wycheck:

"We have just as much of a chance of throwing it 40 times in a game as I do of getting a Christmas card from Billy Volek"

"My advice to the troops (on his upcoming USO tour) will be to play good defense, stick to the ground game and kick the field goal at the end to win it."


Top 10 things Jeff Fisher would never say as told by Mark Howard and Frank Wycheck:

"How did you like my Milk ad with Joe Torrey and Pat Riley. Yep, nine championships between the three of us."

"What would Brian Billick do in this situation?"


"As a member of the media, I can say what a pleasure it has been to cover Jeff since the time he came into town. He is a class act, a standup guy. As a host of a radio show, when we need him he'll step up, whether we agree with him or not. His heart is as tender as Yancey Thigpen's hamstrings, and he showed us tonight, stepping us for Cumberland Heights, just a great night, and really a great cause."

- Mark Howard, 104.5 The Zone


"I've never known a coach that does more for charities. I've never known a coach who will do something at the last minute to help a kid in a wheelchair. This goes back before I've known him and I'm sure was instilled by his dad, his mom and his family. Jeff is the most giving coach I've ever known. He is one of the best coaches…I hope the fans here appreciate Jeff, not just as a coach but as a person who does a lot of things off the field…I know it's going to be another great year and I think there's a good chance the Titans will go to the Super Bowl, so support them. If they struggle a little bit and you get mad at the coach, just be patient because the Titans are always going to be good as long as this man's here."

- John McClain, Houston Chronicle

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