Young, still backup at QB, touches on September off-field issues

Updated: October 16, 2008, 3:36 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Watching from the sideline isn't easy for Vince Young. The Titans quarterback, who lost his starting job to veteran Kerry Collins when he injured his knee, said Wednesday he hasn't the slightest idea if Tennessee will be his team again someday.

Vince Young opens up

In the Titans locker room Thursday, Vince Young was loose and lively and got some things off his chest. Paul Kuharsky provides the bulk of the relevant Q&A from Nashville. Blog

"You've got to ask Coach Fish that," Young said of Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who announced Sept. 15 that Collins would be his starter until the Titans, now the NFL's only unbeaten team at 5-0, lose or struggle. "I'm just sitting back, playing my part in my position where he has me right now."

For Young, September was not a month to remember. He hasn't played since spraining his left knee midway through the fourth quarter of the Titans' season opener Sept. 7. He skipped a scheduled MRI exam a day later, then prompted a police search when he raised the concerns of those close to him by taking off hours later without his cell phone.

The police search prompted a firestorm of media coverage regarding his mental state -- the police report indicated Young mentioned suicide. In an interview with MSNBC's Web site later Wednesday, Young addressed the matter for the first time and faulted the media for misrepresenting him.

"I'm a great guy, a great humble guy," Young told MSNBC.com. "I've done a whole lot in my career in just three years and for [the media] to do stuff like that to try to make me look bad for some reason -- I don't know why -- but they're just writing my legacy."

Young

When asked about the concern over his mental health, Young said he didn't want to discuss it, but then added, "That's something else the media made people think like that. I know who I am, everyone knows who I am as a person. They know good and well, I ain't trying to commit suicide or all that kind of crap.

"It was just a story everybody wanted to write. It was hot and everybody need to make their money, feed their viewers. I always get the bad end but I just brush that off and use that as motivation for myself."

Meanwhile, Fisher wasn't available for comment after Young talked with reporters about his status as Collins' backup. But the coach has called Young the Titans' franchise quarterback who's now in a position to watch a veteran at work, which Young didn't get the chance to do as a rookie.

Young is 18-12 as a starter and under contract through 2011. He didn't return to practice until Oct. 1, and the Titans have treated the No. 3 pick in the 2006 draft carefully.

He stayed home to rehabilitate his knee when the Titans hit the road and beat Cincinnati 24-7, watched their 31-12 win over Houston from the coaches' box and sat on the sideline in street clothes for the 30-17 win over Minnesota.

He practiced the entire week leading into Tennessee's fifth game and was moved to Collins' backup, pushing Chris Simms to No. 3. Young dressed and was on the sideline for the 13-10 win at Baltimore. He handled 80 percent of the first-team offense during the first two practices while resting Collins, and Young split the work with the veteran in the final practice last week.

Young said it's been hard to handle because he's a competitor.

"I've always been a competitor. I always play hard and things like that. I can't do nothing about that. That's the boss. The boss say, 'Go with 5,'" Young said referring to Collins by his jersey number.

"And all I can do is be supportive of 5 and ask questions and pay attention to what he's going through as the veteran quarterback that he is, some of the decisions that he makes out on the football field and just pay attention."

Young said he is concentrating on healing up his knee, which he estimated as close to but still not 100 percent. He wasn't on the Titans' injury report issued Wednesday. He also is paying attention to the offense, asking questions and denying reports that he isn't tapping Collins' experience.

"I don't know what that's going around, but that's my guy, that's my man. We have a lot of respect for each other, and he helps me out, not just football. He helps me out with accounting, money, all … type of things. I just want to get that out," Young said.

Young said he is working to know the offense and be ready if needed.

"Even though I'm not playing … I'm still happy that we are 5-0 and still happy we're winning ballgames," Young said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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