Tag:Mike Munchak
Posted on: August 8, 2011 9:00 pm

Finnegan admits missing camp because of contract

C. Finnegan admitted that he missed practice because he is unhappy with his contract (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Cortland Finnegan seems like a tough guy to figure out. The Titans DB doesn’t have the best reputation among players (he’s considered one of the dirtiest guys out there, and he fought with the usually-calm Andre Johnson last year), but he’s vowed to change his ways and he befriended a high school volleyball player stricken with a rare type of cancer.

But on Monday, he readily showed that, once again, he still has some growing up to do, admitting to reporters, including Rapid Reporter Matt Rybaltowski, that his absence from practice Saturday was because of a contract dispute.

As CBSSports.com’s Ryan Wilson explained Sunday, Finnegan left Titans camp Saturday, apparently upset at a contract that will pay him $3.7 million this year.

But on Sunday, Finnegan wrote on his Twitter page that, despite coach Mike Munchak saying he didn’t know why Finnegan had left, his absence had nothing to do with a holdout. Instead, it was “a personal matter that Titan officials were aware of … I am grateful for being a Titan … I am also thankful for my current contract and direction of team. It's obvious media had no idea of why my absence took place. … I have spoken with coaches and teammates and will resume all things asked. Sad to see media made this out to be about money when I'm happy."

Also: “Media gets paid to report never knowing but one side of a story. My personal issues needed attention and I will be out there playing ball."

Naturally, all of that was a lie.

“I let the emotions get the best of me,” Finnegan said today after apologizing to his teammates, team management and the media. “I had to take a step back personally, talk to my wife and see what the next step was for me.”

Finnegan also said he wants to retire a member of the Tennessee organization, and he hopes that his short absence doesn’t destroy his chances of landing a long-term contract (Munchak has said it won’t).

So, was it just bad advice from Finnegan’s agent, then?

“Ultimately a player is responsible for his actions and what he decides to do,” Munchak said. “I think it’s hard for us to know.”

Finnegan just doesn’t make it easy for anybody to know what’s going on in his head.

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Posted on: August 7, 2011 1:10 pm

Finnegan takes to Twitter to explain absence

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Saturday, Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan missed a mandatory meeting, and Yahoo! Sports reported that Finnegan left training camp Friday night, upset about a contract that will pay him $3.7 million in 2011.

Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt told the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt that "We were totally surprised he turned around and left camp," adding that Finnegan's "disappointing" move wouldn't help him land a new deal.

Funny story: Finnegan fired up his Twitter Machine to set the record straight. He's not angry about his contract, he went missing from Titans training camp to attend to personal matters.

"My absence had nothing to do with a holdout yet a personal matter that Titan officials were aware of," Finnegan tweeted Sunday.

"I am grateful for being a Titan … I am also thankful for my current contract and direction of team. It's obvious media had no idea of why my absence took place. … I have spoken with coaches and teammates and will resume all things asked. Sad to see media made this out to be about money when I'm happy."

More Finnegan: "Media gets paid to report never knowing but one side of a story. My personal issues needed attention and I will be out there playing ball."

Interesting. Head coach Mike Munchak told the Tennessean that he didn't know Finnegan had left camp until he was a no-show for a Saturday-morning meeting.

“Disappointed is probably the easiest word," Munchak said before Finnegan took to Twitter. "It is not something we expected. You obviously want your best players here, and you want them to be your leaders. So it is unfortunate whatever is going on, that is as much as I am going to say about it. We expected him to be here when we woke up and be a part of practice, and he decided not to be and we had to go on from there.”

So, nothing to see here, at least according to Finnegan. Now the Titans can concentrate their efforts on convincing Chris Johnson to report to training camp.

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 8:22 am
Edited on: July 27, 2011 12:57 pm

Hasselbeck to sign three-year deal with Titans

HasselbeckPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Free agent QB Matt Hasselbeck has a new home, and new Titans coach Mike Munchak has a new signal-caller.

Per CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman, the 35-year-old Hasselbeck will sign a multi-year deal with the Titans worth a reported $21 million over three years. That means the SeahawksHasselbeck’s former employer who signed Tarvaris Jackson on Tuesday – are officially done with him, and that means Vince Young is out in Tennessee.

It’s also tremendous news for rookie QB Jake Locker. With the retirement of Kerry Collins, Locker was looking at starting in Tennessee with no veteran leadership around him to let him learn.

Now, Hasselbeck probably will take the first-team snaps while Locker gets to learn what it’s like to be an NFL quarterback.

Hasselbeck's new destination
Hasselbeck also will be a good team guy, considering he helped lead the offseason Seahawks workouts, despite knowing there was a good chance he wouldn’t be back in Seattle.

In fact, Freeman thinks Tennessee made such a good move that the Titans are heading for the playoffs. While that’s still going to be a tough bet with the Colts still in the AFC South, it’s an interesting thought. Chances are, unlike last year when Hasselbeck led the 7-9 Seahawks to the postseason, Tennessee actually will have to own a winning record to make the playoffs.

Now, the next step for Tennessee: making sure RB Chris Johnson doesn’t hold out in hopes of getting more money from the Titans.

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Posted on: July 23, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 5:06 pm

Titans will have to cut Vince Young in a hurry

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Jeff Fisher might think that Vince Young can learn from his mistakes, but we all agree that if Young gets that opportunity it will be somewhere other than Tennessee. New Titans coach Mike Munchak made that clear in April and nothing's changed in the three month's since.

Except that the proposed new collective bargaining agreement now makes getting rid of Young a priority for the Titans. The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt provides the details:

"Young’s scheduled to receive a $4.25 million roster bonus on the 10th day of the 2011 league year," Wyatt explains. "Under the old CBA, the Titans would’ve had 10 days to trade him before they had to release him. Howard Balzer of the Sports Xchange obtained a summary of the proposed deal that was reviewed by the NFLPA* this week and it states the due date for all offseason option and roster bonuses will move to the second day of the new league year."

Translation: instead of 10 days, now the Titans have one day to trade or cut Young or they'll owe him a cool $4.25 million. And Wyatt's thinking on what this means for everybody involved is spot on. "No team is going to be willing to trade for Young since everyone knows the Titans plan to release him."

All that's left, it seems, is to figure out where Young will play in 2011.

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 6:38 pm

Fisher thinks Young 'can learn from mistakes'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

New Titans head coach Mike Munchak made it clear earlier this offseason that Vince Young's career in Tennessee is over, and that will become official once the lockout ends.

“That was a decision made months ago and nothing that is going to happen personnel-wise, or how the draft goes, is going to change that,” Munchak said in April. “It wasn’t just a Jeff Fisher decision -- I think people kind of have that feeling that, because it happened back then, we could change our decision. We are standing by that decision. What’s been done is best for everybody.”

Young may have never fulfilled his promise as the Titans' franchise quarterback, but he won't be out of work long. The Dolphins and Eagles have been mentioned as possible destinations, although concerns about Young's maturity remain, especially if he's not the clear-cut No. 1 QB -- and at this stage of the proceedings he most certainly won't be.

But the man responsible for benching Young in Tennessee on a handful of occasions has now come to his defense. Perhaps time away from the game has mellowed Jeff Fisher, who was fired by Titans owner Bud Adams back in January. Or maybe he thinks Young would have more success with another franchise. Either way, he spoke about it during a recent appearance on NFL Network's Total Access.

"Keep in mind, he won a lot of games for our organization and led us to the playoffs," Fisher said of Young, according to USAToday.com's The Huddle. "He's a tremendous player. He's certainly got a great deal of ability, and he's a rare athlete, and he's a good teammate. And hopefully he can learn from this experience and get that (next) opportunity."

This is the same Jeff Fisher who didn't appear to be much of a Vince Young fan while they were both in Tennessee. Or, at the very least, didn't have enough confidence in Young's abilities to not bench him in Week 2 of the 2010 season for the now-retired Kerry Collins.

"A lot of the really good quarterbacks had a defining moment, you know where it just got hard on 'em -- it just gets hard -- and I think that's what happened with Vince," Fisher said.

"I think he had a defining moment, and it just became overwhelming to him. And I know he's had a chance to step away from it now, and I know he's one that learns from mistakes. If given the opportunity, he'll learn from this past one."

While it's a virtual certainty that Young will be with a new NFL team in the coming weeks, whether he can become an above-average NFL starter is another matter. Maybe the cliche holds true in this instance -- a change of scenery will do him good. Or maybe he'll just be the same player, just wearing a different uniform.

Fisher, meanwhile, sounds as if he's up for coaching again at some point in the future. "I want to get back in the X's and O's," he said. "I want to get back and see what people are doing and put your systems together and just kind of study the game. So this fall will be a great opportunity to do so."

And if the coaching thing doesn't work out, he can always join Jon Gruden at FFCA.

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 7:18 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 7:30 pm

Britt issues statement, explains Facebook hacking

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Kenny Britt refuses to go away. He's been in the news recently for various legal entanglements, and then, earlier this week, Britt was the victim of a Facebook hacker. At least that's the story he's telling.

On Monday, this post showed up on Britt's Facebook wall:

"Retiring from the NFL. F*** You Goddell. So there is that."

It was promptly deleted and the "real" Britt informed his readers through a series of Facebook posts that his account had been hacked, he's not really retiring, and he's very much looking forward to the start of the NFL season.

Everyone hoped that would be the last we'd hear from Britt until there was actual football to discuss. Nope. The Titans wide receiver released a statement Tuesday night further explaining what happened.

Details via the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt:

“I have the utmost respect for Commissioner Goodell, the NFL and the TN Titans,” Britt said. “The Facebook posting as reported was not made by myself nor have I given any statements to anyone regarding this matter. It is not a defense but a fact that this Facebook page and associated email account were hacked and reported more than 120 days ago.”

Please. Stop. Talking. The first rule of PR is to bury the story and pray people forget about it. The recent news about the possibility of a new CBA had done just that … and then Britt goes an issues a statement.

Assuming for the moment that his Facebook account really was hacked, does Britt believe people are going to take him seriously after spending the last few weeks in court rooms and squad cars? (Also worth noting: Britt's been arrested at least six times since the Titans drafted him in April 2009.)

We joked about it Monday, but Britt's "Hey, my Facebook got hacked!" defense is right from the Anthony Weiner playbook. All that's left is for Britt to hold a press conference and have Benjy Bronk yell out unprompted questions about hot physiques and smooth sexy chests.

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Posted on: June 19, 2011 9:45 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 10:15 pm

Johnson thinks he can 'take pressure off' Locker

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Two weeks ago, during player-organized informal workouts, Titans running back Chris Johnson was under the impression rookie QB Jake Locker would head into 2011 as the team's starter.

"Everybody knows [Jake's] going to be the starting quarterback so he needs to be ready come Game 1," Johnson told the media at the time. "So he's just trying to get ready."

Actually, general manager Mike Reinfeldt has said Tennessee will bring in a veteran QB and won't rush Locker onto the field. A sensible strategy, certainly, but even if Locker begins the season under center, there's reason to think he'll be able to handle the gig. Primarily because the offense won't go through him, but much like a situation Christian Ponder could face in Minnesota, the offense will begin with the running back. In the Titans' case, that's Chris Johnson, one of the league's most dynamic players.

Tennessee offensive coordinator Chris Palmer doesn't expect Johnson to slow down anytime soon, although Palmer says he'll monitor the running back's workload.

“Again, it’s something we’ll have to look at,” Palmer told the Tennessean last week. “The good thing is (Titans head coach) Mike Munchak has been with him for a while and knows him pretty good."

But Johnson, who had 316 carries (for 1,364 rushing yards) last season and 358 more (for 2,006 rushing yards) in 2009, thinks the Titans offense needs him more now than ever. “I feel like [Locker] can come in and do some good things, but I think at the start I am going to have to take some pressure off of him,” Johnson said Saturday at his third annual football camp for kids at Battle Ground Academy, according to the Tennessean.

“In order for him [Locker] to be more successful, we’re going to have to get the running game going and not have to rely on him so much, and I know that starts with me," Johnson continued. "I feel like I always put pressure on myself, so I’ll take it.”

History sides with Palmer in that coaches need to keep close tabs on their running backs' workload. In 2005, Larry Johnson racked up 336 carries for 1,750 yards for the Chiefs, and his carries increased to 416 carries (for 1,789 yards) in 2006. Johnson, who was only 27 when the 2007 season began, was never the same after that. He started just 27 games from '07 to '09, and was out of the league by 2010.

(If you're a Titans fan, and depending on how much stock you put into the Curse of 370, this is about the point where you start to worry.)

Chris Johnson has shown no signs of slowing down, but NFL running backs typically don't see their abilities diminish gradually; more often than not, their skills fall off the cliff.

For now, though, Johnson will be integral to any success Tennessee's offense has next season. Just don't expect him to report to training camp before he has a new contract.

You know who else would be a big help to whoever ends up the Titans' starting QB? Kenny Britt. He just needs to stop getting arrested.

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Posted on: June 19, 2011 1:00 pm

Collins wants to return to Titans ... to start

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Here's the deal: Kerry Collins would like to return to the Titans in 2011. We know this because he's said it before, more than once. Collins mentioned it last week, and again Saturday, this time with one qualification. Via the twitter feed of the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt:

"Kerry Collins reiterates he'd like to return to Titans next year but made it clear he'd like to be starter, not a backup."

There's a huge difference between, "Yeah, I'd love to come back" and "Yeah, I'd love to come back … as a starter." Especially when the Titans drafted their most recent quarterback of the future, Jake Locker. There's also this: Tennessee guard Jake Scott said last month that Collins could decide to walk away from football, rather than play the role of Locker's "nursemaid."

But Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt has said from the beginning that the Titans won't rush Locker and that they'd pursue a veteran quarterback. That could mean giving Collins a legitimate chance to compete for the starting gig, or bringing in another veteran like Matt Hasselbeck. Or, if the lockout is resolved in the coming weeks and Locker plays lights during training camp, he very well could begin the season under center.

If Reinfeldt and new coach Mike Munchak are making a pros and cons list for possible veteran QBs to bridge the gap to Locker, Hasselbeck would have to get a slight edge over Collins. At 35, he's three years younger, and appears to be more amenable to the mentor role at this stage of his career.

You don't get that impression from Collins, who told Wyatt: "(Locker's) a kid who could learn from a guy like me. Hopefully he'd watch what I do and take lessons."

Yes, because that strategy worked so well when the Titans tried it with Vince Young.

(Yes, we know, that had everything to do with Young and nothing to do with Collins. And it's also why Tennessee drafted Locker. But if Locker is the best quarterback in camp, he should win the job. It's not like Collins has to play in order to teach Locker the nuances of the position. Plus, there are worse fates than getting paid a player's salary to be nothing more than a glorified coach.)

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com