Rams give coach Jeff Fisher contract extension
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Jeff Fisher thought receiver Brian Quick got both feet down on a sideline catch in the third quarter, but the Los Angeles Rams coach couldn't find the red challenge flag in the bulky parka he was wearing on a chilly day in New England.
Digging through his pockets with no success , Fisher eventually just told the sideline referee he wanted a replay review. The challenge was successful, but the drive ended in a field goal that failed to make a dent in the Patriots' 17-point lead.
The Rams wouldn't cross midfield again until the final two minutes of the game.
It was that kind of up-and-down day for Fisher, who was given a contract extension that was revealed on Sunday just hours before the Rams stumbled through a 26-10 loss to the Patriots.
''I'm expecting to be the coach of this franchise. However, I fully realize that wins and losses fall on my shoulder,'' Fisher said after the Rams lost for the seventh time in eight games. ''I'm not looking over my shoulder.''
Fisher said he reached an agreement with owner Stan Kroenke ''well before the season started,'' but the deal just hadn't been announced. General manager Les Snead has also been given an extension, Rams spokesman Artis Twyman confirmed.
Snead also became the Rams' general manager in 2012, taking over a 2-14 team. The deal for Fisher was first reported by the NFL Network, which said it was a two-year extension through 2018.
Both Fisher and Snead were in the final month of their deals.
Fisher, who fell to 31-44-1 on Sunday, said he wasn't sure why the deal leaked out on Sunday. ''It just somehow got out,'' he said.
But the failure to announce it led to speculation that the coach who moved with the team from St. Louis wouldn't last very long on the West Coast. Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson said last week he wouldn't attend another Rams game as long as Fisher was the head coach.
But rookie quarterback Jared Goff said he was glad the coach would be back.
''I'm excited for him and excited to continue playing for him,'' he said.
In his five seasons with the Rams, the first four in St. Louis, the team has yet to finish above .500. The Rams haven't made the playoffs since 2004.
Kroenke has praised Fisher for his handling of the team in the face of its on-the-fly move from St. Louis that had them practicing in three different Southern California cities this offseason. Fisher has also complained that the team's travel schedule - an NFL-high in miles traveled, including a trip to London - has been a burden.
''I was very appreciative, with respect to Stan, knowing what we were going through,'' Fisher said. ''We had a lot going on this offseason.''
Fisher also shepherded the Oilers from Houston to Nashville in 1997, his fourth season there; by 1999, the Titans were AFC champions - losing in the Super Bowl, coincidentally, to the Rams. He coached the Titans through 2010, then was hired by the Rams after sitting out the 2011 season.
''He's put together a hell of a team this year. It's just unfortunate he's getting a lot of slack on us losing,'' defensive lineman Will Hayes said. ''He's a stand-up guy. He takes care of his guys. And he does everything that a player wants from his coach.''
AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham contributed to this story from Los Angeles.
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