Vince Young out as Titans starter

Updated: November 22, 2010, 12:19 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans quarterback Vince Young has lost his hold on the starting job, coach Jeff Fisher said following Tennessee's 19-16 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Fisher's comments followed an emotional day for Young in which the fifth-year signal-caller was booed, injured his thumb, threw his shoulder pads into the stands, stormed out of LP Field without talking to the media and reportedly verbally sparred with his coach following the game.

Young I'm not running out on my teammates, I'm running out on you.

-- Vince Young to Jeff Fisher, according to The Tennessean

Young, who tore the flexor tendon in his right thumb late in the third quarter and was replaced by rookie Rusty Smith, left for the locker room after being hurt but returned to the sideline and had the thumb taped and re-taped in an effort to return. He even tried a glove, but Fisher stuck with Smith.

After the game, Young walked toward the tunnel and suddenly tossed his shoulder pads and jersey into the stands.

When the team gathered in the locker room following the loss, Young began muttering and cursing under his breath as Fisher addressed the team, the Tennessean reported Sunday night.

After Fisher asked Young to be quiet, the paper said, the quarterback finished dressing and prepared to leave the room. Fisher told Young to stop and not to "run out on your teammates," sources told The Tennessean. Young told Fisher, "I'm not running out on my teammates, I'm running out on you," the paper said.

Young then left the locker room and ignored media members as Titans safety and former University of Texas teammate Michael Griffin chased after him. The Tennessean reported that Griffin was seen confronting Young in the players' parking lot.

Griffin reportedly pleaded with Young, "You can't leave, you can't do this," before Young shrugged and left.

Griffin denied chasing after Young, but multiple media outlets reported witnessing the incident. Griffin did say that he hoped people can set aside their egos and personal feelings so they could stick together as a team. Told that Young's injury could end his season, Griffin said he didn't know that.

"Whatever happens, that's between them two," Griffin said of Fisher and Young. "I'm just trying to be a loyal teammate and a supporter."

Fisher admitted he and Young spoke in the locker room, but wouldn't discuss what was said.

"That is between me and him and the team," Fisher said.

Young's teammates weren't talking about the incident after the game.

"We were told to keep our mouths shut, and that's what I'm gonna do," receiver Nate Washington said.

Tight end Bo Scaife told The Tennessean, "I am sure [Young] is upset. But what happened is between him and coach. Hopefully they can get some stuff resolved."

Fisher said he was very disappointed and thinks Young's teammates are disappointed in Young's behavior after this loss.

"There is going to be frustration in losses," Fisher said. "There is going to be times when you have to dig deep and fight and turn to one another. I don't think you run, and so I am disappointed."

Fisher told The Tennessean, "There are some things that need to change." Fisher said regardless of Young's health, he was sticking with Smith at quarterback.

He also said that he kept Young out of the game because he didn't think he was healthy enough to play.

"I was not satisfied with [Young's] ability to control the ball," Fisher told The Tennessean. "He never came to me and said he was OK and wanted to go back in, and I was told he was obviously a little upset after. I was also told he threw half his uniform into the stands. I think clearly that is no way to respond, and so we have some things we have to sort out with him. He may need surgery, and if that's the case, he's done for the year."

Young has told people close to him that his thumb was fine and he could have returned to the game, a source who spoke with the quarterback after the loss told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The source also said that Young doesn't think he needs surgery on the thumb.

According to the source, Young was upset that Fisher didn't believe in him and didn't put him back in the game when the quarterback felt he was healthy enough to play.

A second source close to Young told Schefter that Young was set for an MRI on his thumb on Monday.

Young may have also been upset with Titans fans who booed the home team throughout the game. As the fans booed late in the first half, Young waved his arms when fans were booing -- as if egging them on.

Three hours after the game, Young wrote on Twitter that he was fine and apologized to his teammates. He then tweeted, "Just want to play."

The Tennessean reported Sunday night team officials will discuss Young in a conference call with owner Bud Adams on Monday. Adams was at the game but left quickly.

Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt told The Tennessean that he was not prepared to speculate on Young's future with the team.

"It was a little disappointing, yes," Reinfeldt told paper. "These are some tough times and we just have to get through this."

Young was the No. 3 overall pick in 2006 and that season's Offensive Rookie of the Year. He led the Titans to the playoffs in his second season but got hurt in the 2008 season opener where he reacted poorly to fans booing him after a second interception. A day later, Fisher contacted police for help because Young's family worried the quarterback might hurt himself.

Kerry Collins finished that season as the starter, leading the Titans to a 13-3 record and a playoff berth.

Young got his job back last season on orders from owner Bud Adams after Tennessee opened 0-6. Young is 30-17 as a starting quarterback, but Tennessee now is 5-5 with three straight losses. He has one year left on his contract.

Smith, a rookie selected in the sixth round out of Florida Atlantic, made his NFL debut Sunday. He went 3-for-9 for 62 yards and an interception. Collins is the Titans' No. 3 quarterback with a strained left calf.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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