Titans to host ex-Vol Cottam, Mizzou's Rucker

Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 6:58pm

The Tennessee Titans aren’t through looking at tight ends just yet.

Tennessee has already added former Atlanta Falcons teammates Alge Crumpler and Dwayne Blakley in free agency this off-season. Next week, they are expected to host two tight end prospects in the draft at Baptist Sports Park.

Former University of Tennessee tight end Brad Cottam and University of Missouri star Martin Rucker are both expected to visit as part of the pre-draft visits the Titans can have with up to 30 players. The Titans have not yet finalized their complete list of visitors.

Cottam has been turning plenty of heads despite an injury-plagued career with the Volunteers.

The 6-7 Cottam missed most of the 2007 season in Knoxville with a wrist injury, but returned to catch a touchdown in the Vols’ Outback Bowl victory over Wisconsin. He built on that performance by turning in a strong week at the Senior Bowl in January.

On top of that, Cottam was impressive during his pro day at Tennessee last month.

That surge of strong work, plus his big-target frame, has plenty of teams interested in him, including the Titans.

Cottam has been aware of the Titans’ potential interest in him for quite sometime now, expressing that sentiment at the NFL Combine back in February.

“I’ve heard a lot of people talk about that,” Cottam said at the time.

One of the things the Titans will likely delve into with him is his injury history, which not only includes the wrist problem last season, but other issues such as a sports hernia and being involved in an automobile accident during his time with the Vols.

“Any hit on my body, I just kind of look at as being unlucky so far,” Cottam said. “I’m hoping I put all that behind me in college and I can be injury-free at the next level.”

Rucker enjoyed a standout senior season for the Tigers with a school-record 84 catches for 834 yards and eight touchdowns.

Rucker, the younger brother of Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Mike Rucker, is, like Cottam, more regarded as a receiving type tight end rather than a blocker, but said at the Combine he was eager to show all his skills to NFL teams.

“Everybody knows that I can run. And everybody knows that I can catch. The big thing that they want to see me do is block on the line,” Rucker said.

University of Houston receiver Donnie Avery is also expected to visit with the Titans soon.

PAC PROCRASTINATION: The trade discussions involving the Titans and Dallas Cowboys over Adam “Pacman” Jones apparently got a bit of a break Thursday.

The Cowboys spent much of Thursday in draft meetings.

Negotiations are expected to continue, and a trade leading up to or during the draft still remains a probable. The two sides still must agree on compensation and other matters that regarding bonus money the Titans have requested from the Cowboys.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher was asked earlier in the week at the NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., what it would take for Jones to return to the Titans roster in the event that he is not dealt away as expected.

“I think complying with the suspension, that in itself would be enough,” Fisher replied.

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: The Tennessee Titans will play host to the St. Louis Rams the weekend of Aug. 8-10 to open the preseason, then will face the Oakland Raiders at home the following Saturday in a nationally televised game on FOX on Aug. 16 at 7 p.m.

In addition, the Titans will play road games at Atlanta the weekend of Aug. 21-24 and Green Bay Aug. 28-30.

Final dates and times for the games not already slotted into time frames will be announced over the next month.

NEW CARR?: The Titans will know by Friday afternoon whether or not the Oakland Raiders will match their offer sheet for restricted free agent Chris Carr.

Carr, a defensive back and kick returner, signed an offer sheet believed to be worth just under $2 million with the Titans. Oakland is not expected to match the deal. Carr entered the league as an undrafted free agent, meaning Tennessee would not owe the Raiders any compensation if they choose not to match the offer.

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