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Monday, June 14, 2010
Titans practice: Loud barbs, flying helmet

By Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Not to be lost in a day filled with news about Vince Young and Gerald McRath was a heated and extended exchange between cornerback Cortland Finnegan and receiver Nate Washington.

During a seven-on-seven drill near the goal line, Finnegan intercepted a Young pass intended for Gage in the back of the end zone and ran it out.

Something during or after that play appeared to light the fuse as the two players screamed at each other as practice continued.

Washington barked about how he shows up on Sundays and it’s not about Monday through Friday.

Among Finnegan’s pointed responses: “You’re too soft, we need you to toughen up.”

Ultimately Washington appeared to try to be conciliatory, shouting that the offense and defense were just working to help everyone get better.

Jeff Fisher chimed in telling both players to cool it.

But not long later, Finnegan broke up a Chris Simms pass intended for Washington on the right side of the end zone which led to more talk, though that round seemed to have less volume.

Finnegan can be over the top with his intensity and heading into his fourth year I expect him to have a much better feel of when to let it show and when to wait. Washington sometimes gets yapping and can’t stop himself -- he was debating Michael Jordan versus Kobe Bryant in the locker room after practice with some other receivers with similar volume.

Maybe Finnegan was out of line here, but the Titans do need some firecrackers on their roster who are unafraid of making unpopular points, even at a low key OTA in June, and Finnegan certainly did that.

As a fifth year guy who’s played on a Super Bowl winner, Washington probably needs to know when to let things go too. But he gets some credit for trying to get to a team theme as things wound down.

The practice also featured a brief fight between right tackle David Stewart and defensive end William Hayes.

Stewart tore off Hayes’ helmet and fired it at Hayes. Stewart’s a nasty player and that’s often a good thing for the team, but not here. He was very fortunate the helmet missed Hayes’ head, traveling a good distance in the air before it landed on the turf.

If it connected, the Titans would have had a third big story on top of Young and McRath to sort out.