Crumpler meeting goes well, will visit Titans next week

Saturday, February 23, 2008 at 11:56am

INDIANAPOLIS _ The Tennessee Titans are squarely in the mix for tight end Alge Crumpler, after meeting with him and his agent Friday at the NFL Combine.

According to Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt, Crumpler will visit Nashville next week to take a physical.

Reinfeldt added that the Titans are in the ballpark regarding financial considerations.

“I think we would be competitive, and I think he was looking more for the right fit at this time, the right city, the right team, the right playoff potential team. That’s more what he was looking for,” Reinfeldt said.

Added Titans coach Jeff Fisher, “There’s no question that he’s one of the better players over the last few years at the tight end position. He blocks, he’s a good receiving tight end, there’s run after catch, everything. He’s narrowed the group and we’re in the running, so we’re looking forward to having him [visit].”

Crumpler, 30, was released by the Atlanta Falcons after catching 35 passes in 2007.

“He had a good visit with the Titans. He’s going to come to Nashville next week and meet with Coach Fisher and tour the facility,” Crumpler’s agent James Williams said.

Crumpler will visit a couple of other teams other than the Titans, who would like to sign him before free agency kicks off on Feb. 29.

“If it works out before the start of free agency, that would be a good way to start it off,” Reinfeldt said.

MEETINGS: The Titans met Saturday morning with the agents for free agent defensive end Antwan Odom and were scheduled for a Saturday afternoon meeting with the agent for wide receiver Justin Gage.

Defensive end Travis LaBoy and tight end Ben Hartsock are also among the team’s priorities as it heads into unrestricted free agency.

“We gave Justin an opportunity, and Justin took every advantage of it last year,” Fisher said. “He is deserving of a significant raise, and we’d certainly like to get him back. The end situation is one where we drafted the in the same draft class. They’ve been productive for us, and they’ve kind of followed the same path over the last few years from an injury standpoint. Fortunately, last year they both stayed healthy and we’d like to have both of them back.”

SO LONG?: The Titans are likely to let go of injured wide receiver David Givens, who is due a $500,000 roster bonus in March.

Givens has had multiple surgeries after suffering a devastating knee injury in 2006, the first-year of a five-year, $24 million contract he signed.

He missed all of the 2007 season and it appears questionable as to whether or not he would be able to play again.

“David is still in the middle of the rehab process. This is an especially difficult injury to overcome. Recently, he had several more scopes. It just remains to be seen,” Fisher said. “I’m hoping for David he can at some point heal up and get back and get another chance either with us right now or somebody else.”

FRONT RUNNER: Fisher was impressed with running backs coach candidate Earnest Byner in their interview Friday, and Byner is scheduled to meet Saturday with offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger.

“I was really impressed with Earnest. Earnest played 14 years in this league at the position and got a tremendous amount of experience,” Fisher said. “While he was the player development coordinator at Baltimore, he also served as an assistant running backs coach. He has obtained an awful lot of knowledge over the last few years, and I thought he did a real good job in Washington with a number of running backs.”

Fisher said he had received plenty of resumes either by fax, e-mail or hand delivery this week, but said no other major candidates have yet emerged. He said he hoped to finalize things by next week.

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