Titans plan to move Vince Young
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans owner Bud Adams says it's time to let Vince Young go and for the franchise to find its next quarterback.
The Titans released a statement Wednesday night in which Adams said Young won't be on the team's roster next season, but he's still evaluating the coaching staff.
"We have two critical decisions to make, the direction of the coaching staff and the future at the quarterback position. They are separate issues to me and will be dealt with separately," Adams said.
Adams is the owner who wanted Young drafted No. 3 overall out of Texas in 2006 and said on draft day that "VY is my guy." But even as his general manager and senior executive vice president were traveling to Houston to meet with him Monday, the 88-year-old owner decided Young no longer is the quarterback for his franchise.
Young is 30-17 in five NFL seasons, but only 13-14 against teams finishing a season .500 or better. He's also battled questions about his work ethic, leadership and injuries. He suffered a season-ending thumb injury on his right hand Nov. 21, tossed his shoulder pads into the stands and told off coach Jeff Fisher in front of the locker room before storming out.
The 27-year-old quarterback told The Tennessean of Nashville that he was a little bitter, but wished Adams and Fisher well and thanked them for giving him a chance to win the Super Bowl. He also said he had nothing against Fisher, though he never felt as if the coach trusted him.
"Things happen for a reason. I tried my best to win a Super Bowl for them. I tried my hardest, I really did,'' Young said, according to The Tennessean. "I just wish coach Fisher would have trusted me a little bit more. That was the only issue there.
"I like Jeff Fisher as a person, as a coach and everything. I just didn't feel like he trusted me," Young added, according to The Tennessean. "In the five years I was there ... I feel like he was continuing to treat me like I was a young man when I'd really grown up a whole lot. I just didn't feel like I had the trust and the love that any other quarterback around the league had. I was always looking over my shoulder. I didn't feel like I was his guy the whole way.''
Young later tweeted his thanks to Nashville and Titans fans.
"I look forward to a new beginning and bringing my talents to a new team," Young wrote.
The quarterback is due a roster bonus of $4.25 million in March and an $8.5 million salary for 2011.
Adams said he informed general manager Mike Reinfeldt to start identifying the team's next quarterback, and thanked Young for his contributions to the team.
"These kinds of decisions are never easy and this is especially true for this particular player. I certainly wish that things would have worked out better, but I think it is best for the franchise that we move on at this point," Adams said.
Reinfeldt informed agent Tom Condon that Young isn't in the team's plans for the future. League rules keep Young from being released until Feb. 7, and he cannot be traded until the first day of the league year -- an uncertain date because of the labor unrest. Reinfeldt says Young is welcome to continue rehabilitation on his thumb injury at the team facility.
The news caught Young's teammates by surprise, even though they had been asked for the past couple of weeks whether they thought both Young and Fisher could work together again.
"That's crazy," running back Chris Johnson said on ESPN's "SportsCenter." "That's something I would have never expected. When you looked at his on-field play, he produced. He produced a lot of wins."
Young came in as the successor to Steve McNair. He started off strong, being selected The Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2006, and he helped the Titans go 10-6 with a wild-card playoff spot in 2007.
But he had an injury in the 2008 opener, and Fisher wound up calling police when Young's mother worried about him speeding off a day later from his home in his Mercedes.
Veteran Kerry Collins remained the starter as the Titans opened 10-0 and earned the AFC's No. 1 seed that season.
But Young came off the bench under Adams' orders after the Titans started 0-6 in 2009, and Young helped them win eight of their final 10 games.
He started eight of nine games in 2010 but couldn't finish three games because of injuries. He threw for 10 touchdowns with only three interceptions and a career-best 98.6 passer rating, and was 93 of 156 for 1,255 yards.
Talking about the Nov. 21 incident for the first time, Young told The Tennessean that his emotions got the better of him that day -- and that he regrets how he reacted.
These kinds of decisions are never easy and this is especially true for this particular player. I certainly wish that things would have worked out better, but I think it is best for the franchise that we move on at this point.” -- Titans owner Bud Adams on decision to part with Vince Young
"I didn't want to say something more than I didn't need to say so I got up out of there," he said, according to the newspaper. "Yeah, I could have handled it better. I left and ever since I just needed to pray and be to myself. That's why I've just sat back and ever since I've let everyone have their say about everything, but I know the truth."
Since being placed on injured reserve Nov. 23, Young was seen in the team's locker room only once, on Dec. 17, and he was on the sideline during the third quarter of the Titans' win over Houston on Dec. 19 before leaving the field early in the fourth quarter.
Young didn't show up Monday for the team's final meeting of the regular season. Asked about Young's absence, Fisher said to ask the quarterback.
Adams also said in his statement that he informed Fisher he still is evaluating the coaching staff.
"I am hoping to make a decision soon," Adams said.
Fisher could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
He is the NFL's longest-tenured coach with his current team, having just finished his 16th full season and coached his 273rd game with the Titans. Tennessee started this season with high expectations and was atop the AFC South at 5-2 before losing eight of the final nine games to finish 6-10.
Fisher said during his weekly radio show Tuesday night that talks with the team were ongoing. The NFL's uncertain labor situation also muddles the big picture.
"We didn't anticipate coming to any decisions or conclusions or solutions, if you will, today," Fisher said at the start of his show. "As I said yesterday, it's a process. It's a complicated process, and there's a lot of moving parts. We're all trusting that collectively we'll arrive at the best decision."
Fisher is under contract for 2011 at a tab of $6.5 million. The Titans have the eighth overall pick in April's draft.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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