LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Rams fired head coach Jeff Fisher on Monday, December 12, one day after the team’s 42-14 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
The former USC Trojan and California native began his coaching career with the Houston Oilers in 1994, before relocating and helping the team transition into the Tennessee Titans in 1999. Fisher, 58, signed with the Rams in 2012, and over five seasons recorded an overall record of 31-55. He holds a career record of 173-165-1 and is tied with Dan Reeves for the most losses in NFL history.
Fisher was in the final year of a five-year contract that paid him about $7 million a year. He received a two-year contract extension this year, that is expected to be bought out by the team.
“Making a decision such as this — especially during the season — is one of the most difficult in sports,” said Rams owner Stan Kroenke in a statement. “I have great respect for Jeff as a coach, person, father and friend.”
Fisher faced scrutiny for his handling of number one overall pick Jared Goff, who was not inserted into the starting lineup until week 13 against the Miami Dolphins; despite the team trading away six draft picks to acquire the quarterback.
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald said that he was “shocked” by the news.
“He pretty much talked to us from the heart. You know it hurt him a lot, but he stood up there and he stood strong and talked to us like a man,” Donald said. “But any time you lose a leader like that, a guy that drafted you and you’ve been with for three years and he’s up and gone, you’re going to be down about it.”
Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ vice president for football operations and chief operating officer, said the firing was “solely a performance-related issue.” According to Demoff, the Rams are open to a variety of head coaching candidates.
Special teams coach John Fassel has been named the Rams’ interim head coach by the team.
The Rams have lost eight of their last nine games, and currently have a record of 4-9 for the season. They will face the Seattle Seahawks in their first game without Fischer on Thursday, December 15.