- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In the aftermath of Bud Adams' death last week the big question was how ownership of the Tennessee Titans would be structured.
The Titans Monday pretty much confirmed the shape of the three-way split: Adams’ daughters, Susie Adams Smith and Amy Adams Hunt, are co-chairwomen and Adams’ grandson, Kenneth Adams IV, is a director on the Titans’ board.
Smith’s husband, Tommy Smith, is president and CEO of the Titans.
The Titans will have to formally name a controlling owner for the NFL.
The big question now is how Smith will be as the head of the franchise. I encountered him only a few times with a cursory hello when he was involved with the team while I covered it in Houston for The Tennessean in 1996. He wasn’t around the team often once the team moved to Tennessee, though he was still a team executive through 2002.
The bit I knew about him then was largely from stories told by team employees. And revisiting some of that now, we shared one uncertainty: Was Smith being himself or were they seeing a son-in-law behaving in a way he thought his boss and father-in-law wanted him to?
As with most every question regarding Smith at this point, my answer is I don’t know.
We have to see how he manages the team, spends money, treats employees and takes an interest in the roster before we can piece together an opinion, and that’s going to take a while.
His last public attachment to the Titans was in 2002. He could be a completely different guy now.
The statement revealing the structure came just a day after the Houston memorial service for Adams.
Some might be critical of how quickly it came out and see it as a quick assertion of power by Smith. But questions were hovering.
And conversations I’ve had now tell me my initial reaction was on target -- that the statement was a positive.
Smith offered quick clarity about how things are shaped, reaffirmed Adams’ ultimate mission to win and reassured Nashville of the family’s commitment to the city. In several paragraphs, Smith answered a lot.
Here’s hoping it’s a sign of things to come in terms of letting us know how things work and what’s happening going forward.
9hEric D. Williams