The Tennessee Titans began their voluntary offseason program on Monday, and quarterback Vince Young was among the players in attendance for the first day of work.
Last year, Young, the team's first-round pick and the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2006, spent a good portion of his offseason working on his degree at the University of Texas in Austin and was only a part-time attendee in the Titans' offseason program.
Young's decision last year also drew criticism because the Titans had hired a new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, who was charged with installing a new offensive system and working with Young to refine his footwork and passing mechanics.
The decision not to attend full-time also received additional scrutiny when a photograph of a shirtless Young at a college party surfaced on the Internet.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher said in January at his season-ending press conference that he expected Young to be a full participant in the offseason work and would accept nothing less. Fisher added last month at the NFL Combine that he had spoken to Young and the quarterback was eager to move forward and asked what he needed to do to regain the starting job he last early last season.
A knee injury in the season opener and subsequent event where Young was unaccounted for for several hours factored into the Titans handing the reins of the team to Kerry Collins.
Collins helped the Titans to a league-best 13-3 record and was re-signed to a two-year, $15 million extension last month, leaving Young as the second-stringer for 2009.
Efforts to reach Young’s agent Major Adams were unsuccessful.
The Titans declined comment on which players were present and absent for Monday’s first day of work.
SECONDARY CONCERNS: Tennessee’s options for depth in the secondary took a double hit on Monday as the Green Bay Packers decided to match the Titans offer sheet for the restricted free agent.
Bush had signed the offer sheet in Tennessee on Friday, giving the Packers seven days to match the deal or lose Bush to the Titans.
That move came just hours after it was reported that the Oakland Raiders last week had re-signed cornerback/kick returner Justin Miller to a contract extension. Miller had visited the Titans recently, and the club considered him an option to replace Chris Carr who departed on Saturday for a two-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens.
Monday’s moves leave the Titans shallow in terms of depth at the cornerback position behind starters Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper. Vincent Fuller re-signed as the nickelback, but he is a free safety by trade rather than a true cornerback. That leaves only last year’s seventh-round pick Cary Williams as the main cornerback backup, as the Titans earlier in free agency lost Eric King to the Detroit Lions.
The loss of Carr and the failure to land Miller also leaves the Titans with an uncertain situation at the kickoff and punt return positions. For now, Rafael Little is the most likely option, though the Titans are still believed to perhaps have interest in Carolina Panthers free agent receiver Mark Jones.