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Monday, August 2, 2010
Titans owe Kevin Mawae a phone call

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

I’ve defended the Titans for not having offseason dialogue with Keith Bulluck. I don’t know what you say to him without messing with leverage you might need or making false promises. Still that he said the team didn’t return his phone calls set off alarm bells.

Mawae
I can’t defend them at all for how they’ve treated Kevin Mawae.

Jim Wyatt talked to the veteran center Sunday, and Mawae said Jeff Fisher has basically not lived up to a promise he made.

Highlights of that interview:
"It's a classic example of the coach and general manager not talking to one another, or the coach telling me one thing and them making another decision down the road. I am not surprised by it.”

"Jeff told me in April he guaranteed me a roster spot. Those were his exact words, 'I guarantee that you have a roster spot.' He said that to me twice. But apparently Jeff is not doing contracts. It would be great if the two were on the same page instead of sending me mixed signals ...''

"If I go in and do an interview for a job at a Fortune 500 company or if I am on the short list for a position with another company and I don't make that cut, somebody is going to call me and say, 'Hey, I appreciate your time, I appreciate you coming in and doing an interview but we went in another direction.' That is professional courtesy.''

"At the end of the day, if your fingers aren't broke, my agent's phone number is only 10 digits and it's a toll free number, too. So it doesn't take but 30 seconds to call my agent and tell him what your plans are. That is not just me, that is for all the guys. ... But that just seems to be their M.O.''

The Titans’ response?

General manager Mike Reinfeldt told Wyatt, "barring injuries, it doesn't look good here.''

And Jeff Fisher, who admitted the promise, hung his hat on the timetable: “I'd like to think the door is still open once the evaluation process is done or there's an issue. When I discussed this with Kevin there was no timetable. Mike and I are on the same page. He is excited about the roster and excited about evaluating the younger players.''

That they can be so unsentimental is a good thing.

But this is weak stuff from the Titans, who may have procedural issues with departing players. Bud Adams or the team’s executive vice president should set a policy about returning phone calls, one that should not be necessary.

Mawae and Bulluck shouldn’t have to look at their phones and wonder why they aren’t ringing when they’ve left a message.

And the Titans should realize they can’t always hedge when someone calls them on their poor communication skills. It looks bad and it sounds unprofessional. Fisher and Reinfeldt are smart guys who can communicate. They need to do a better job of it.