Chris Carr couldn’t wait to get out of Oakland as he signed as a restricted free agent with Tennessee last off-season.
Now, Carr can’t wait to stay with the Titans, even as he is poised to enter unrestricted free agency at the end of February.
“I definitely want to come back here. This is a situation where I feel like Coach [Jeff] Fisher is going to be here for awhile, and I definitely like my teammates and things here,” Carr said. “I feel like we have the potential to be a pretty good team for awhile, so I definitely want to come back here.”
Carr was signed to a deal worth around $1.8 million for one year and was asked primarily to serve as the Titans return man on both punts and kickoffs.
He performed well, averaging 10.1 yards per punt return on 32 punt returns and 28.1 yards per kickoff return on 35 returns, which helped the Titans lead the league in the latter category just one year after finishing near the bottom for the 2007 season.
“We set out to improve our kickoff return phase from last year where I think we were 31st or 32nd and we end up first in the league in kickoff returning. I think we have a dynamic returner that obviously we would very much like to be a part of our future,” Fisher said.
With Carr, the Titans knew they were probably getting a decent return man, but he also proved to be a pleasant surprise when called upon to play in the secondary because of injuries. Carr came off the bench at Jacksonville in a game where Nick Harper was sidelined with a foot injury and replacement Eric King broke his forearm against the Jaguars. Carr responded to the Jags’ challenge of him by breaking up three passes and picking off a David Garrard pass in the process.
In all, Carr started two games in Harper’s spot this season, and now believes he is poised for a bigger role. He even says he would take less money than perhaps he could get from another team to stay here if it means a bigger role.
“I’m going to start talking to them now about it. I’m going to have my agent get in contact with them,” Carr said. “I’ll take less money to stay here, if I feel like they respect me and want me to play more defense, and give me more of a shot to play more next year, then I definitely want to come back, because I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here.”
There could be jobs open in the Tennessee secondary next year, as both nickelback Vincent Fuller and dimeback King, who finished the year on injured reserve, are unrestricted free agents as well. Carr quickly made it known he’s up for something more than just returning kicks.
“I felt that I’ve shown that I’m too good to be just sitting there on the sidelines unless somebody gets injured,” Carr said. “I’ve played nickel extensively in my career. I’ve played corner a lot and I’ve played safety. So I feel like I can definitely help this team out.
“When I came in last year, I felt like they just wanted me to do returns, and so I definitely want to have a more extensive role next year.”
As for Fuller, he said he doesn’t yet know what his status will be, and intentionally kept it that way during the season.
“It’s really nothing to think about. Everything that’s in my control happened throughout the season,” Fuller said. “After this, it’s just up to whether the Tennessee Titans want to sign me or not … I told my agent not to keep me updated during the season so I could just focus on playing. We’ll sit down and talk.”
FUTURES CONTRACTS: The Titans have signed the following players to 2009 contracts, many of whom ended the year on the practice squad.
Among those signed are defensive tackle Amon Gordon, who was waived from the 53-man roster prior to the playoff game to make room for Kevin Vickerson.
Others include defensive end Charles Bennett, offensive lineman Doug Datish, offensive lineman Peter Clifford, cornerback Tanard Davis, defensive end Derrick Jones, cornerback Christian Morton, tight end Matt Mulligan, receiver Craphonso Thorpe, offensive lineman Jason Murphy and offensive lineman Fernando Velasco.