The Tennessee Titans got a Thanksgiving Day prayer answered on Thursday as offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger was back at practice and will call plays on Sunday in Houston, despite beginning chemotherapy on Monday.
Heimerdinger was diagnosed Wednesday with an undisclosed type of cancer, and the Titans concluded practice on Wednesday with prayer for him at midfield in their practice bubble.
“Mike came back after his visit with the doctors last night, and the doctors are going to wait to start his treatment until Monday,” Coach Jeff Fisher said. “Obviously, he feels good enough to finish up this week and call the game. We’re very, very excited for that, to have him back and keep him involved.”
Heimerdinger will get to oversee Rusty Smith’s first NFL start after all.
“He’s got a tremendous fight ahead of him, but at least he knows what to prepare for and when to prepare for it,” Fisher said of the chemotherapy. “It speaks volumes about his commitment to this organization.”
The Titans had already been planning for Sunday without Heimerdinger, as they had offensive line coach Mike Munchak ready to handle the running game portion of the game plan, and have first-year quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains do the play calling.
Also, Heimerdinger's son Brian had flown in from Houston to be with his father.