- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After Mike Munchak was the first-round draft pick of the Houston Oilers in 1982, he visited with owner Bud Adams. Adams was the first Texan he’d met, and had the biggest desk Munchak had ever seen.
It was the start of a 31-year-long relationship between a player, assistant coach and head coach and the owner of his franchise.
On Monday, after Adams passed away, the Titans shuffled their schedule. Munchak told players the news and made a suggestion. If they’d not read much of the team history that’s written on a giant timeline on the walls of team headquarters, it would be a good time to peruse it.
In 2011, when Adams was still in reasonably good health, he’d bring friends to Nashville for games. On Saturday afternoons, Munchak would walk with his boss and the guests through the halls, looking at pictures and telling the stories behind them.
“People think he wasn’t here, so maybe he wasn’t an active owner being here all the time” Munchak said. “But he was. For me, I walked these halls, he was always here. I had those stories with him, I had that history, I knew what was important to him. … He was here all the time, you could see him, you could feel him, it’s just his body, he wasn’t here. I think he’ll always be here.”
Munchak said he can’t remember an unpleasant conversation with Adams, who always sought to understand the rationale behind the team’s moves.
After last season’s disappointing 6-10, Adams wanted to know how the team was going to help quarterback Jake Locker.
“He got excited about it,” Munchak said. “Maybe I sold it good, maybe he liked the way I told the story. It was optimistic. Here’s how we’re going to do this and here’s how it’s going to work. He’d have a few questions …
“I thought that was my job, to excite him over what the plan was. Because he didn’t know the details of it. He didn’t know a lot of these guys’ names. He didn’t know Andy Levitre. It was our job to find the right guys. He just wanted to know how the puzzle was going to come together.”
12hJason Gibbs, Special to ESPN.com
14hJason Gibbs, Special to ESPN.com