Cortland Finnegan's explanation

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
9:54
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In earlier times, when Jeff Fisher was a primary power broker, the Titans were constantly accused of a failure to communicate.

[+] EnlargeCortland Finnegan
Fernando Medina/US PresswireCB Cortland Finnegan brings an attitude, not just cover skills, to the St. Louis defense.
Players on their way out often had hurt feelings when they didn’t get a phone call returned, didn’t get a straightforward explanation about where they stood.

I leaned toward defending the team. What can you say, really? You don’t want to back yourself into a corner in case circumstances change.

But the Titans have changed.

A team now headed by general manager Ruston Webster and coach Mike Munchak chose to operate differently with cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

They told him their plan: They won’t be offering him a contract. They are letting him go.

And so, as is human nature, Finnegan wants the next step; he wants more; he wants to know why.

Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean spoke with him:
“It is bittersweet,” Finnegan said. “For six years I played in the Titans organization. I am grateful and humbled that the Titans took a chance on me and the way they matured me over the years.

“But they wanted to move on. … I don’t know why, and I don’t know what else a guy could do career-wise and in the community. But that’s part of the business, and you have to move on. I’ll have great memories of my time with the Titans. It just didn’t work out.”

Again, how would it benefit the Titans to spell it out for him?

Here’s why: They don’t think he’s a $10 million-a-year corner. Although he’s a very good and versatile defensive back, he’s not going to single-handedly erase a top receiver every week. Even had the Titans decided to give him the franchise tag, he would have hated it and griped. He’s a good guy at heart and did a lot for the team and the community, but his nasty streak, on and off the field, could show up at bad moments and be unhealthy. The last time he got money, he didn’t react to a fatter wallet well.

If you’re thinking the loss of Finnegan will hit the Titans the way the loss of Albert Haynesworth did, or even Jason Babin, I disagree with you.

Jason McCourty is a high-quality corner who will be the lead guy. Alterraun Verner is a smart player who will man the other side. Finnegan manned the nickel post well, but if the Titans are down to that, they’ll find an answer. It could be Ryan Mouton. It could be that Tommie Campbell or Chris Hawkins comes in to take Verner’s outside slot and he kicks inside.

The Titans will add an outsider or two from the lower tier of veterans, and they'll draft at least one.

And there is your explanation.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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