Mike Munchak has not yet had the opportunity to stand before the Tennessee Titans and spell out his expectations now that he’s the head coach.
Fewer than two months since being hired, and less than two weeks into the current NFL lockout, Munchak took an opportunity Tuesday to send a message to his players — albeit indirectly — wherever they are. In so doing, he made abundantly clear what he expects from them while they are barred from the team’s training facility.
"These are professionals who are dedicated to the game,'' Munchak told the Associated Press. "They will stay in shape and be football ready when the call comes.''
A small group of Titans players began morning workouts at Father Ryan High School, on Monday. Their number was expected to grow as the days and weeks progressed.
Munchak’s comments came during the coaches breakfast on the second day of the NFL meetings, which concluded Tuesday.
As is the case with virtually anything else he will encounter in his new position, Jeff Fisher’s replacement speaks from experience when he discusses such things.
Munchak was a player for the franchise (then the Houston Oilers) during work stoppages in 1982 and 1987.
Both of those were player strikes and each was protracted enough that it shortened and/or altered the season. In 1987, which included three games with replacement players, he was a consensus first-team All-Pro by multiple media outlets and made his third straight Pro Bowl appearances.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that he does not expect the 2011 season would be affected by the current labor strife.
“We are certainly planning on having a full season,” Goodell said. “That’s our objective and we’re going to work as hard as we can to make that become a reality.
“… The owners want to play a full season. I think the players want to play a full season and I know our fans do.”
Goodell acknowledged, though, that refund policies have been established for teams that have accepted season ticket payments as scheduled.
Munchak, on the other hand, does not expect the players to short-change themselves or their teams in terms of preparation.
"That won't happen,” Munchak said. “This is their trade and livelihood. … Guys now back in Nashville will be working out on their own. They know how important it is to be in shape.''