AFC South: Kenny Holmes

Titans' Washburn may be Philly-bound

January, 18, 2011
1/18/11
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Jeff Fisher critics have called for staff shuffling.

They’d have been foolish to want defensive line coach Jim Washburn to go. But Washburn, a free agent like every coach on Fisher’s 2010 staff except for Mike Heimerdinger, may be on the verge of jumping to Philadelphia, reports Jim Wyatt.

Fisher acknowledging the possibility may be an early attempt to start softening the blow.

It would be a terrible development for the organization, which has consistently seen Washburn turn draft picks and free agents, problem children and reclamation projects into productive pass rushers.

The list of guys Washburn got the best out of includes Jevon Kearse, who joined the Titans in 1999, the same year as Washburn as well as Kenny Holmes, Josh Evans, Henry Ford, Carlos Hall, Robaire Smith, Antwan Odom, Travis LaBoy, Albert Haynesworth, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Tony Brown, Jason Jones, Dave Ball and Jason Babin.

In six seasons with four teams, Babin had 17. 5 career sacks before the Titans signed him for $1 million last offseason. Under Washburn’s tutelage, Babin posted 12.5 sacks -- the sixth-best total in the NFL. (Here’s a column on Babin and Ball from early in the 2010 season.)

A screamer, Washburn knows how to find and push buttons for his players, and he’s helped them make them a ton of money. By Wyatt’s count, 11 defensive linemen left the Titans over the past 12 years to sign big free-agent contracts elsewhere at a total value of more than $355 million.

I can think of only two guys who were better after they left. Juqua Thomas, who’s now Juqua Parker of the Eagles and could soon have Washburn as a position coach again, is not part of that big-money departure list. Randy Starks of the Dolphins is.

Virtually everyone who’s played for Washburn has good things to say about what he did for them.

Replacing him would be a huge undertaking for Fisher. A lame-duck coach, he won’t be able to offer his next defensive line coach any more than the one-year deal he was able to offer Washburn.

Heading for Harvard, Wharton

February, 12, 2010
2/12/10
1:20
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You’ve got to be smart to be a tight end for Peyton Manning.

So it’s not a big surprise that among the 77 players enrolled at NFL programs at Harvard and Wharton later this month are three Colts tight ends. Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme will spend next week at Harvard while Tom Santi will head for Penn.

"The program offered by the Harvard Business School is a great opportunity to begin preparing for life after football, and I have heard nothing but positive things from players that have participated,” said Clark, in the league's announcement of the program's participants. “It's a way to take advantage of one of the many programs the NFL and NFLPA offer, and I think to be able to receive business and leadership advice from some of the top instructors in their field will be invaluable."

The Colts match the Seahawks with a league-high seven participants. Here’s the AFC South roster:

Harvard:
Wharton:

The league’s write-ups on the two programs:

The Harvard Business School (February 15-19):

The Harvard custom program is designed to expose NFL participants to a broad array of business operations, negotiation, business plan analysis and legal aspects of business. All of these issues are pursued via the case method, in which participants study actual cases of real businesses and, in a highly interactive fashion, discuss the issues raised in the cases. The program also includes sessions focused on career issues, that allow participants to get feedback on their own strengths and weaknesses, develop a career vision, and receive small group coaching. Cases focus on real estate ventures, franchises and retail businesses, among others. The program will be delivered in a four-day module.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (February 16-19):

The Wharton custom program emphasizes entrepreneurship and business building with an emphasis on real estate. The program also includes an emphasis on analyzing financial statements, legal issues, investing and money management, social responsibility, property management, insurance and liability fundamentals, and taxation. The program will be delivered in a four-day module utilizing the case method along with group discussion and follow-up coaching/consultation.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
 
  AP Photo/George Walker IV, Pool
  Former Titans players, including Brad Hopkins, top left, and Benji Olson, top right, served as pallbearers at the memorial service.

WHITES CREEK, Tenn. -- For all who watched Steve McNair assisted off the field during his 13 seasons as an NFL quarterback, the conclusion of his memorial service was especially tough to digest.

Pallbearers who played with him surrounded his casket, lifted it and carried it out of Mount Zion Baptist Church, surely hoping they were also transporting at least a degree of the pain shared by the family, the franchise, the city and the league.

"That was tough, to carry his casket out," Eddie George said. "Right after they said those kind words, they said the eulogy, reality set back in again, that he has to go to his final resting place. Knowing that's Steve's remains, that's his shell in that casket, that's not Steve, and I'm not going to remember him in that capacity. This is a part of the process, this is closure for us, for me. Now the healing can begin, and I don't know how long it will take."

 
  AP Photo/George Walker IV, Pool
  Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason takes part in a memorial service for Steve McNair.

In his eulogy at the conclusion of a service that included impressive versions of "Press On" and "God is Able," Bishop Joseph W. Walker III called McNair "a humanitarian, a philanthropist, a supreme athlete, a motivator, an entrepreneur." In citing the biblical instruction that one without sin cast the first stone, Walker said it was "time to have a stone-dropping service."

During the memorial, Jeff Fisher told a story of McNair considering giving up the game in 2000 after suffering a sternum injury and conveyed the condolences of a high-ranking military official he met just last week while visiting troops in the Persian Gulf.

Later, the Titans coach said he was sure even more of McNair's old teammates wanted to attend but could not. Fisher said that he might soon take McNair's sons fishing.

Asked about watching George, Samari Rolle, Zach Piller, Kevin Long, Frank Wycheck, Brad Hopkins, Benji Olson, Kevin Carter and Vince Young lift McNair's coffin and walk it out the door, Fisher said he couldn't put words to his thoughts.

"I can't describe that, no," he said.

Plenty of others leaving the church felt the same way.

Count me among them.

***

An add to the previous entry, which included a list of many of the most notable players in attendance. I later spotted several others, including Keith Bulluck, Bo Scaife, Young, Fred Miller, Drew Bennett and Kenny Holmes.

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