Charley Casserly will move into his new office in Houston on Monday and start unpacking boxes to begin preparations to build the city's new expansion team from ground zero.
The NFL's 32nd team will begin play in the 2002 season with Casserly as its first general manager.
Casserly, the Washington Redskins' former general manager, said today he has no plans to hire a head coach at least before next year. For now, he will focus on assembling a scouting and office staff. Casserly, who came to the Super Bowl this week with owner Robert McNair, was asked if he felt vindicated by the Redskins winning the NFC East title and making their first playoff appearance in seven years. He helped build that team, including the signing of quarterback Brad Johnson, before he was fired by team owner Daniel M. Snyder last summer.
"I never looked at it as vindication," he said. "Everyone who was there when it happened should be proud, the people there now and the people who are not there now."
Clash of Titans
Two of the Tennessee Titans already had their game faces on today during a 1-hour 40-minute practice inside the Georgia Dome.
Wide receiver Derrick Mason and safety Blaine Bishop came to blows after an incomplete pass. After practice, Coach Jeff Fisher huddled with both players for several minutes and the players, according to a pool report, "talked out their differences and hugged before departing." . . .
Fisher said he plans to make a decision a few hours before kickoff Sunday about whether wide receiver Yancey Thigpen will play. Thigpen has not participated in practice this week because of a broken bone in his foot, but is scheduled to work out in front of Fisher Sunday afternoon.
Fisher said quarterback Steve McNair's turf toe is far better than it was during practice last week.
Coach Dick Vermeil said Jeff Wilkins will be the Rams kicker on Sunday, despite tendinitis in his left leg that has caused him problems planting his foot. Vermeil said he came close to signing Washington native Nick Lowery, until Wilkins had a good practice on Thursday. . . .
Vermeil doesn't think the New England Patriots surrendered too much by giving a first-round draft choice to the New York Jets for the right to hire Bill Belichick as their coach.
"I think it's a small price to pay to get the right person," Vermeil said. "I would give up two first-round picks to have Bill Parcells coach my football team."
Scary Moment for Smith
Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith collapsed tonight while serving as a studio analyst on a live Super Bowl special on the TNT cable network. The network announced that Smith left the studio on his own power and apparently was fine.