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Friday, January 3, 2014
Tommy Smith not required in Nashville

By Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Since 1997, the Tennessee Titans franchise had a long-distance owner.

There were times when Bud Adams being roughly 800 miles away from his team was a bad thing. But more often, I’ve thought it was a good thing.

Tommy Smith
Titans president and CEO Tommy Smith doesn't plan to move to Nashville, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Adams was a meddler as a younger guy, and age smoothed out some of his edges. Still we’ve seen some rash, moody moves by him, even from afar. “VY is my guy” was one, a declaration that forced the hand of his GM and coach in 2006 with the third pick in the draft when Vince Young was the choice. Adams firing Mike Reinfeldt as the team’s highest-ranking employee in early 2013 with two years remaining on his contract because of his failure to successfully pursue Peyton Manning was another.

Largely, though, unless crazy stuff was going on, Adams’ people were allowed to do their work. They may have had to answer the phone a lot at times. They may have had to make periodic trips to Houston to see the boss.

But they didn’t have constant calls into Adams’ offices or knocks on their doors.

When he met the press before the Titans' loss to Arizona on Dec. 15, Smith said it was his intention to hire good people for jobs that are clear and allow them to do those jobs.

A lot of fans have not reacted well to Smith calling general manager Ruston Webster and coach Mike Munchak to Houston for meetings today, where the fate of Munchak is likely to be determined.

I expected from the start that the meeting would be in Houston and I don’t think it’s a big deal at all.

If the boss wants you to come to him, you come to him, whether it’s down the hall or down the map.

Some hands-on owners who rank as the best in the business are good resources for their teams. It’s good that Robert Kraft is at Gillette Stadium and Steve Bisciotti is at Ravens headquarters.

But in other situations, I bet good coaches and GMs wish they had more space from the boss.

Smith declined a request from Adams, his father-in-law, to move to Nashville in 2002 and take on a bigger role with the team. As a result, he lost a place on the franchise’s masthead.

He’s not moving here.

We don’t have any idea how Tommy Smith is going to be as president and CEO of the franchise.

Maybe in time we’ll say it’d be nice if he were in Nashville. But he doesn’t have to be a Nashvillian to successfully oversee the Titans.