Finnegan's backtrack an embarrassment

August, 7, 2011
8/07/11
3:09
PM ET
That Cortland Finnegan ignored the Titans' request to be patient and left camp over his contract was embarrassing for a couple reasons: He’s not been very good the past two seasons and his $3.793 million scheduled salary for 2011 is more than fair.

[+] EnlargeCortland Finnegan
AP Photo/Mark HumphreyA Titans fan, center, holds a Cortland Finnegan jersey for players to sign after practice Saturday, when Finnegan missed a mandatory team meeting.
That he chose today to backtrack and try to sell it all as the media’s fault for misinterpreting his actions is even worse for this reason: He apparently thinks people are idiots.

NFL fans are certainly willing to blame the media. But I firmly believe savvy fans are generally tired and bored by players doing or saying silly stuff and then shifting blame to the messenger or claiming the silliness was taken out of context.

The media who reported Finnegan’s walkout and holdout had no agenda. Our lives are far easier if he’s where he’s supposed to be. It's common practice in any line of work to tell your boss if you've got a personal matter in need of attention before you disappear. Finnegan did not.

If he had a personal matter, why not tell coaches and management rather than have them be surprised by his absence from a Saturday morning meeting? If he did, why didn’t a single comment from him or his agent surface from the team or in a media report? (My messages were unreturned, just like everyone else’s. Twitter is a nice outlet. It shouldn't be a primary form of communication in a situation like this, especially more than a day later.) If he did, why did Mike Munchak call his absence disappointing and Mike Reinfeldt talk of a holdout?

“The important thing is our [two guys not in camp, Chris Johnson and Finnegan] are under contract,” Reinfeldt said Saturday after a practice at LP Field. “Usually you have holdouts on guys that have not signed contracts, draft picks, franchise guys. These guys have contracts. …

“It’s a tough situation. We’ve tried to call him, and we have not been able to get in touch with him. We were totally surprised he turned around and left camp.”

This falls into the M.O. of some of the Titans' key players in recent years: Nothing is their fault.

Finnegan said early in the offseason, when he did laudable work as a player organizer during the lockout, that he intended to be more accountable to everyone.

Yet here he is, trying to shift blame and target a scapegoat on account of his own poorly measured actions.

Per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, here’s Finnegan via Twitter:
“My absence had nothing to do with a holdout yet a personal matter that Titan officials were aware of. I am grateful for being a Titan. I am also thankful for my current contract and direction of team. Its obvious media had no idea of why my absence took place.

“I have spoken with coaches and teammates and will resume all things asked. Sad to see media made this out to be about money when I'm happy. With all that has been given so forgive me Nashville for media making it seem that way. Media gets paid to report never knowing but one side of a story. My personal issues needed attention and I will be out there playing ball. Look forward to answering questions Tom at practice.”

Among Wyatt's reactions: "Almost comical Finnegan blaming media, calling me out by name, but he's also calling Reinfeldt and Munchak liars. #titans"

You know what Finnegan should do? Take the blame for botching this. Raise his hand when he makes a mistake. Then be quiet and be better than average. Those developments would go a long way toward solving his problems.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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