The Tennessee Titans confirmed Heimerdinger’s death after talking with his family. He died Friday while in Mexico to receive experimental treatments for a rare form of cancer. He was offensive coordinator for the Titans when he was diagnosed with cancer in November 2010.
“Mike approached cancer with the same vigor and tenacity that he approached any football game _ to win,” Heimerdinger’s wife, Kathie, said in a statement. “Even in the final minutes he never gave up _ that was our Dinger. He was a deeply devoted husband and father, loving son and brother, loyal friend and committed coach who loved the game and life.”
Heimerdinger made a trip to Houston with the team for that Sunday’s game and was greeted on the field before the game by his son, an intern with the Texans at the time.
Heimerdinger was in his second stint as the Titans‘ offensive coordinator. The man called “Dinger” was college roommates with Mike Shanahan and helped coach McNair to co-MVP of the NFL with Peyton Manning in 2003 during his first run in Tennessee.
“He was a great coach and a tough coach,” Titans running back Chris Johnson said. “I know I wouldn’t have become the player I am without his confidence and the trust that he showed in me. My thoughts go out to his family.”
In Denver, he worked for Shanahan and coached dynamic wide-receiving tandem Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith.
“We lost a very special person and my best friend in Mike Heimerdinger,” Shanahan, now the coach of the Washington Redskins, said in a statement. “I know the man upstairs needed a superstar so he took him earlier than we all wanted. His love for his family was unprecedented and I will forever miss him.”
Broncos football chief John Elway tweeted: “The world lost a great coach and a great man in the passing of Mike Heimerdinger. He was a big part of our championship years.”
Heimerdinger was born in Dekalb, Ill., and was a wide receiver and centerfielder at Eastern Illinois University where he received a degree in history.
He spent four years as a high school coach in McHenry, Ill., and then was a coach at the University of Florida, the Air Force Academy, North Texas State, Cal State-Fullerton, Rice and Duke.
Heimerdinger then coached for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and two stints with the Tennessee Titans. He coached Manning in a couple of Pro Bowls, and they played golf together in the offseason, and Manning noted Saturday that Heimerdinger was close with Kerry Collins, now with the Colts, and a couple other players in Indianapolis.View Entire Story
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