Titans make Volek starter, Young likely to play

Updated: June 9, 2006, 12:04 PM ET
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Goodbye Steve McNair, hello Billy Volek as the Titans' new starting quarterback.

And yes, rookie Vince Young will get his chance to play this season, too.

"Let's face it. You're going to see [No.] 10 on the field this year," coach Jeff Fisher said Thursday. "Where and when and how, I can't be specific, but you're going to see him on the field at some time."

The Tennessee Titans wished McNair well on Thursday as they completed a trade with Baltimore, getting a fourth-round draft pick for the winningest quarterback in franchise history.

"I don't know that we could ask for a lot more from the guy," general manager Floyd Reese said.

Even though the stalemate involving the 11-year veteran had stretched since April 3 when McNair was asked not to work out on the team's property, Reese had only compliments for the quarterback.

McNair was the last of the Houston Oilers still on the roster and the only No. 1 quarterback the franchise has known since relocating to Tennessee in 1997.

"When he finishes, he will come back to Nashville and he will still be a Titan," Reese said. "When people talk about Joe Montana, he's not a Chief. He's a 49er, and Steve McNair will always be a Titan, and I'm thankful for that."

But as the Titans reminisced about McNair's toughness, the quarterback was being introduced at a news conference in Baltimore.

McNair's departure immediately clears $9 million in salary cap space, the money he was due in salary this season. That is more than enough to sign a 10-player rookie class headlined by Young, the No. 3 pick overall from Texas.

The Titans also will have enough money to consider pursuing a free agent if they want. Cornerback Ty Law remains unsigned and visited with Tennessee last month. Or they could pursue a veteran quarterback such as Kerry Collins.

Reese said those decisions would be made within the next few days.

"With this move, we will end up with more money than we've had over the last probably seven, eight years. ... We'll have money for injuries. We will have money to re-sign some of the quote, unquote, core people. We will have money to do the things we have not been able to do for a number of years," Reese said.

"It's been hard, and we all know that in one fell swoop here we've gotten ourselves pretty healthy pretty quick."

Volek, an undrafted free agent in 2000 out of Fresno State, now is the Titans' starter. He has been working with the first-team offense in minicamps all spring, and Fisher said the coaches will prepare Volek, Young and Matt Mauck to play this season.

"How things are going to unfold, I can't be specific. But I can say Billy is going to line up as our starter. He inherits the role now, and we're getting Vince ready to play as quickly as we can," Fisher said by telephone.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press