This much is certain: Cortland Finnegan was absent Saturday when the Tennessee Titans conducted their most public — thus far — of preseason workouts.
Beyond that, the facts of the situation are muddied by the disparate stances of the organization, led by general manager Mike Reinfeldt and coach Mike Munchak, and the player himself, who took his case to Twitter on Sunday and promised to offer more information Monday, at which time he said he intended to be back with the team.
“My absence had nothing to do with contract or holdout,” Finnegan said on Twitter. “I will resume all activities with team. Very happy with current situation.
“Look forward to answering questions [Monday] at practice,” he said in another tweet.
Attempts by The City Paper to reach Finnegan on Sunday were unsuccessful.
In other entries on the social media website, Finnegan wrote that he left training camp to attend to personal matters and that team officials were well aware of the situation.
That certainly was not the case, based on the comments by Reinfeldt and Munchak a day earlier after the team completed its first full week a training camp with a practice session before a crowd of 4,100 at LP Field. They said Finnegan’s absence was unexcused and unexplained and suggested it was a negotiating tactic at a time when talks on an extension for the sixth-year cornerback were progressing.
“We have tried to call him and we have not been able to get in touch with him,” Reinfeldt said. “It’s a tough situation. … I talked to Cortland during the week. Coach Munchak did. We had some discussions with Cortland’s agent — we made an offer, they made a counter offer.
“We were surprised he decided to leave camp.”
Suddenly the situation shapes up as the first significant test for Munchack, who succeeded Jeff Fisher in January, in terms of his ability to maintain harmony and to manage the disparate personalities and individual needs within the locker room.
At the very least, Finnegan appears to be guilty of poor communication. A favorite saying of Munchak, and one that now is on the wall in the Titans’ primary meeting room, is “Be a professional. Know what to do and do it.”
If Finnegan knew how to properly reveal his plans and gain clearance for them, he did not do so.
It also is possible that Munchak did not clearly spell out the protocol for such situations, and that the player fell short — perhaps unwittingly — of doing what was expected.
Of course, those are the most benign possibilities.
In his posts on Twitter, Finnegan stopped short of calling Reinfeldt and Munchak liars, but his assertion that “titans [sic] officials were aware of my absence” is a direct contradiction of what those officials said.
It is possible that one side or the other is not telling the truth.
"It's not something we expected," Munchak said Saturday. "You obviously want your best players here and you want them to be your leaders. So it's unfortunate that whatever's going on is going on. ... We woke up and expected him to be part of practice and he decided not to be."
There was a growing sentiment in recent years that Fisher’s handle on his players and their attitudes had waned in his later years.
Munchak has been hailed as a no-nonsense professional whose Hall of Fame playing career would carry immeasurable weight in his attempts to re-establish order following years of unsavory incidents with the likes of Albert Haynesworth, Adam "Pacman" Jones and Vince Young.
The respective stances of the key people in this matter suggest a lack of cohesion within the franchise. Whatever the resolution on Monday, Munchak needs to address it with certainty — and to make certain similar things don’t happen in the future.