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Titans "iffy" on George - Nashville City Paper

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  • Titans "iffy" on George - Nashville City Paper

    Titans 'iffy' on George future
    Commentary by Mark Howard
    June 08, 2004

    Forget the steak knives, coffee maker or the ever-popular place setting. All Eddie George wants for a wedding gift from the Titans is a deal he can live with.

    The franchise’s all time leading rusher will make his first run down the aisle June 20 and before he exchanges vows with his betrothed, George wants to either say I do or I don't on a new contract.

    Last week, the impasse that existed between George and Titans management reached critical mass. Owner Bud Adams, who lacks the shut-up chip in his head, essentially kissed off George, saying he felt No. 27’s days with the Titans were all but over.

    After George and his agent Lamont Smith expressed their requisite public outrage, everybody did what they should have done all along: Shut up and start talking turkey.

    Sure the rumors have been flying about the Ravens, Raiders, and Eagles having some interest if the Titans cut him, but George made it perfectly clear that this isn’t a bidding war. The four-time Pro Bowler has insisted all along he would take the necessary $2 million pay cut if the Titans gave him some reachable incentives. That means not getting his playing time slashed drastically.

    George apparently got that assurance from Jeff Fisher, but not without a big “if.”

    In this pull no punches, brutally honest face-to-face, Fisher told George that even with promising second-year man Chris Brown waiting in the wings, the starting job was still his to lose and he would still do the brunt of the ball carrying, but only if he remains productive.

    One Titan, requesting to remain anonymous, mused, “It will be very interesting to see exactly what ‘if’ means?” After all, what if George still plods along at 3.3 yards per carry and Brown explodes onto the scene as a younger, faster and more explosive version of George? If Eddie gets off to what has become his customary slow start, will Fisher give him the hook?

    There’s a lot at stake this season for George. He’s 991 yards shy of 11,000 for his career, which much like 500 home runs in baseball, means an automatic trip to the Hall of Fame. George has made it clear he’d prefer to do it in Titans colors.

    All you need to know about George is his performance in last January’s Wild Card playoff game at Baltimore. When he had his shoulder popped back into joint on the sidelines of M&T Bank Stadium, it served as the Titans signature moment in their monster win over the hated Ravens.

    Now the bottom line for all of this revolves around Eddie George’s implicit trust of his coach. Fisher has long been known to be a man of his word and George is banking on that. That’s why as he embarks on his honeymoon, George hopes that his professional marriage to the Titans continues to bloom for a ninth year.

Related Topics


  • Curly Horns
    Titans want George to stay
    by Curly Horns
    By Teresa M. Walker
    The Associated Press

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans finished their final minicamp yesterday with running back Eddie George's future with the team unsettled.

    Coach Jeff Fisher said he is confident the team's career rushing leader will be on the roster when the Titans open training camp July 30.

    "I think everyone expects it to be resolved by then," Fisher said.

    The Titans have wanted to rework George's contract since February, but he declined and was paid a $1 million bonus in March. George agreed to talk after a meeting in June with Fisher and general manager Floyd Reese.

    George is due $4.25 million in base salary this season, counting $7.3 million against the league's salary cap. The Titans need at least $3 million in cap space to sign their rookie class.

    The Titans haven't been in any hurry to finalize details with George because they typically don't start signing their rookies until July.

    George said Tuesday that his agent knows what salary he will accept, and he was waiting to hear a proposal from the Titans.

    George was excused from yesterday's session to start his honeymoon, but he quietly attended the team's organized workouts even though he couldn't take part while healing from operations on his right knee and left ankle.

    Fisher said the Titans expect George to stay with the team.

    If an agreement isn't reached, the Titans might be forced to release the second running back to exceed 10,000 yards rushing without missing a start.

    Teammates say they want George back for a ninth season with the franchise. They already have said goodbye to defensive end Jevon Kearse, defensive tackle Robaire Smith and receiver Justin McCareins this offseason because of financial issues.
    -06-25-2004, 10:34 PM
  • AvengerRam_old
    Remember the Titans?
    by AvengerRam_old
    One yard.

    That was all that separated the Rams and the Titans in 1999/2000.

    One yard, that gave the Rams their first championship, and left Tennessee wondering "what if?"

    Since then, the teams have travelled similar paths. The Rams have gone (including this year) 52-30 in the regular season since. The Titans have gone 49-33. Both teams have won their respective divisions twice. The Rams have also made the playoffs twice as a Wild Card, the Titans once. The Rams are 3-4 in the playoffs since the 1999/2000 season (and have made it back to the Super Bowl), while the Titans are 2-3.

    Similar...yes. But, objectively, the Rams have fared a bit better than the Titans. Also, while the Rams are coming off an 8-8 season in which they made the divisional round of the playoffs, the Titans collapsed last year and went 5-11.

    You know where I'm going with this.

    Given these facts, you have to ask... why do so many criticize Mike Martz and the Rams organization for supposedly failing to capitalize on the momentum of 1999/2000, while Jeff Fisher and the Titans organization seem to get nothing but praise?

    I'm sure it has a lot to do with the different styles of the teams' head coaches. Martz is the the flashy mad scientist who seemingly thumbs his nose at convention. Fisher is the throwback coach who stresses toughness and smash mouth football.

    Rather than dwell on whether this is fair, I'll make this point instead. Looking at the how the Titans have fared in the five years since "the tackle," you can't help but notice what a good job the Rams organization has done to sustain a quality run.

    We all know they have not made it back to the top of the mountain. But (the Patriots success notwithstanding), we should be reminded of just how tough it is in the NFL to stay in contention year in and year out.

    The Titans have done a fairly good job in that respect.

    The Rams have done an even better job.
    -09-19-2005, 09:43 AM
  • itsguud
    Keyshawn meets with titans.
    by itsguud

    Sounds like this is where he may go. Not a bad pick-up if they get him, kinda the same player as Bennet I think.
    -05-19-2007, 08:39 AM
  • HUbison
    Remember the Titans
    by HUbison
    The Titans provide a good model for "drastic turnarounds" on defense. They spent '04-'06 hovering never more than a spot or two above the bottom of the league in defense. Then in '07 they jumped to #8, and this year they sit at #2.

    Schwartz was the DC all along, so that didn't change. And while some positions have been in flux throughout (DE opposite VandenBosch, and MLB), the core remained the same.....VandenBosch, Haynesworth, Thornton, Bullock, Hope.

    I'm no expert, but it seems the formula is something like this.....

    1. Put trusted veteran leaders in the LB corp (Thornton, Bullock)
    2. Recognize your strongest position and exploit it (Haynesworth)
    3. Let the emotional leader, lead emotionally (VandenBosch)
    4. Fill the secondary with players that aren't afraid to light up a receiver AND run support (Harper, Finnigan, Griffen, Hope)
    5. In the draft, don't roll the dice early (Griffin) or turn a blind eye late (Finnigan)
    6. Get rid of the numbnuts (PacMan)

    I don't know what the exact answer is, but it seems analyzing the Titans, who did exactly what we want to do, would be a good start.
    -12-10-2008, 12:59 PM
  • DJRamFan
    George asks for his release
    by DJRamFan
    Associated Press
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Eddie George insists he isn't being greedy, he just wants to be paid close to what he's worth.

    Tennessee's career leading rusher rejected the team's latest contract offer Monday and asked the Titans to release him so he can land with a new team before training camp.

    "Change may be good," George said Monday night.

    "I hate to sever the ties here. My first and only option was to finish a Tennessee Titan under fair circumstances. Unfortunately, that's not how I perceive it at this point. I look to move forward in a new situation."

    The Titans declined comment Monday night on the running back's request.

    George's agent, Lamont Smith, said team officials told him they wanted to "kick it around" and get back to them.

    But Titans owner Bud Adams said in May he was "pessimistic" about George returning to the team, even as general manager Floyd Reese and coach Jeff Fisher said they were hopeful a deal could be reached.

    George is only the second NFL running back to rush for 10,000 yards while never missing a start, joining Jim Brown. Only Walter Payton (170) and Ricky Watters (114) have started more consecutive regular-season games than George's 128.

    Last December, George became the 17th running back to top 10,000 yards. He has 10,009 yards and 64 touchdowns for the franchise that drafted the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner in 1996. His best season was in 2000, with fullback Lorenzo Neal, when he carried 403 times for 1,509 yards.

    George is under contract through 2006 and was due to make $4.25 million this season. The Titans asked him in February to rework his contract and paid him a $1 million roster bonus in March.

    But the salary cap-strapped Titans, whose woes are only expected to worsen in 2005, need to clear space to sign their 13 draft picks before training camp starts July 31.

    Smith said they gave the Titans a counteroffer two to three months ago that would have shaved $3 million from their salary cap, only to see team officials stick close to a proposal of approximately $1.5 million this season with less money each year through 2006.

    "In essence, the deal we had on the table doesn't assure me of anything but a one-year deal," George said. "I don't plan on retiring after next year."

    The Titans have evolved into an offense that now looks to pass first behind Steve McNair, the NFL's co-MVP last season after leading the league with a quarterback rating of 100.4.

    George has been known throughout his eight seasons for his work ethic, which includes regular yoga sessions to maximize his flexibility. He had one of his best games...
    -07-20-2004, 08:46 AM