Published January 05, 2011
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 with his general manager and senior executive vice president traveling to Houston to meet with Adams on Monday, the 88-year-old owner decided Young no longer is the quarterback for his franchise.
Young is 30-17 in his five NFL seasons, but only 13-14 against teams finishing a season at .500 or better. He's also battled questions over 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 that he was a little bitter but thanked Adams and Fisher for giving him a chance. He also said he had nothing against Fisher, though he never felt like the coach trusted him or that he was his guy.
"Everything was my fault. But that's over now. I wish coach Fisher and Bud Adams and all my coaches and teammates best," Young said.
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 rehab his season-ending thumb injury at the team facility.
The news caught Young's teammates by surprise, even though they had been asked for the past couple weeks whether they thought both Young and Fisher could work together again.
"That's crazy," running back Chris Johnson told ESPN. "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 the quarterback 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 as he was 93 of 156 for 1,255 yards.
Since being placed on injured reserve on 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 is under contract for 2011 at a tab of $6.5 million and the Titans will pick eighth overall in the draft.