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Goodbye Oilers, Hello Titans

Associated Press

The NFL’s Tennessee franchise, transplanted from Houston, will have a new nickname in 1999: Titans.

“We wanted a new nickname to reflect strength, leadership and other heroic qualities,” owner Bud Adams said Saturday in making the announcement.

The team was the Houston Oilers from 1960 until it relocated to Tennessee two years ago when it became the Tennessee Oilers.

Titans was the original nickname of the New York Jets in the old American Football League. But Jet officials have indicated they had no problem letting Adams, who helped found the AFL, take the name.

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Adams initially promised to hold a “change-the-name” contest when he relocated his Oilers from Houston to Tennessee. He backed off after hearing from former Oilers such as Earl Campbell who wondered what would happen to their NFL legacy if the name changed.

The name Oilers was often ridiculed by callers to radio sports talk shows in Nashville who said the name was not relevant to Tennessee.

“Titans come from early Greek mythology,” Adams said, “and the fact that Nashville is known as the ‘Athens of the South’ makes the Titans name very appropriate.”

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Fullback Craig Heyward of the Indianapolis Colts will remain hospitalized at least through Monday while recovering from brain surgery.

Heyward was listed in serious but stable condition in the intensive care unit at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. His condition had not changed since Friday, when a hospital spokeswoman said Heyward was alert and talking.

Colt spokesman Craig Kelley said Heyward was handling the situation privately. Hospital spokeswoman Sharon Richards provided Heyward’s official condition as listed in hospital records, but no other details.

After 12 hours of surgery Thursday, doctors were unable to completely remove a shrimp-sized tumor known as a chordoma because it was entwined with vital brain structures, neurosurgeon Troy Payner said. Heyward might need additional surgery and radiation therapy to combat the tumor, he said.

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