Cortland Finnegan admitted to several mistakes Monday.
Chief among his sins was the fact that he let business get personal.
“I think in the midst of all this, when my agent was talking to the GM about a long-term deal and things of that nature, because I wasn’t happy with some of the things said I let emotions get the best of me,” Finnegan said following Monday’s workout. “I had to take a step back personally and regroup and talk to my wife and things and see what the next step was for me.
“In some way, I took the negotiations and what they do personally, and I shouldn’t have.”
His public apology included attempts to make amends with the media, his teammates and the community. He spent time following the workout signing autographs for many of the fans.
“It looks like we’ve got things under control and we’re ready to move forward,” coach Mike Munchak said. “He was sorry and he’ll be accountable.
“… I know how important the game is to him and how important this team is to him. I don’t think he realized what taking a step back for a day would mean to his teammates and not just himself.”
The veteran cornerback walked out of Tennessee Titans training camp Friday night, hours after his agent had submitted a proposal to the team on a possible contract extension. He was absent Saturday when players concluded their first full week of training camp with a workout at LP Field.
Munchak and general manager Mike Reinfeldt each said Saturday that they had tried – unsuccessfully – to reach Finnegan that morning.
On Sunday, Finnegan took to Twitter and claimed that his absence was for personal reasons and that franchise officials were aware of his situation. Monday, he admitted that was inaccurate.
“I talked with [defensive coordinator] Jerry Gray after the [Saturday] scrimmage and [secondary coach] Marcus Robertson as well,” Finnegan said. I talked to Munch [Monday] and just told him my heart, told him I apologize for being a distraction to the team.”
Munchak said he accepted that apology, said Finnegan would be fined and that would be the end of it.
“I need to be fined,” Finnegan said. “… There’s a protocol for everything. I needed to talk to Munchak personally, and I did not do that so I’m subject to a fine. I will take that fine and know that next time – there never will be a next time – you need to take it up with the head coach.”
According to Munchak, Finnegan rejoined the team in a timely manner Sunday night and took part in all of Monday’s activities.
“I think is trust something you have to continue to earn,” Munchak said. “We all know that. I don’t just forget stuff, I need to forgive. Sometimes things happen and you move forward because that’s part of the business.
“Guys are going to make mistakes, and he knows the consequences of doing that, especially going forward.”
Finnegan remains hopeful that a long-term extension can be negotiated with the team that drafted him in 2006 and with which he has spent his entire professional career. He has entered the final year of his current contract, as have 22 other players on the roster.
“I hope it’s still open because I want to be here long-term,” Finnegan said. “I put in the hard work. Last year, to me, wasn’t a good year. … I love what Jerry Gray is doing. He is definitely going to better everyone’s game, including mine, and I look forward to things like that.
“I wanted to sit down and really have a game plan going forward because I didn’t want to do anything to hurt myself. In the long run, just missing practice and being with my team hurt. Guys were worried about me, asking where I was at, calling me left and right and I knew that all the stuff that I had done leading up to this … wouldn’t go in vain. … I can’t let my team down like that.”