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A clarification, an apology to Washington

12/24/2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans receiver Nate Washington has been a straight-shooting, stand-up guy since I’ve covered him starting in 2009.

Sunday in Jacksonville after the Titans’ win, we talked one-on-one for a while about the state of the team at the receiver position and the final year of his contract.

I wrote that he said if the team asked him to chop his 2014 salary of $4.8 million, he’d thought it would be time to move on.

Tuesday, he let it be known he'd like to speak with me about the post. When I made a stop at the team facility, a PR official facilitated a conversation.

Washington was upset with what I’d written and said it went against his long-standing approach to being a team guy.

We concluded that we misunderstood each other, and while my quote of him was accurate, we were not talking about the same thing.

The relevant segment of the conversation started off with a question about his contract, then turned to talk about the quality of the receiver room.

We were talking "number" as in his contract number next year, then we were talking "numbers" as in the group of quality receivers the Titans have.

I circled back at the end to the contract, but Washington thought we were still talking about the roster.

So when he said, "It’s time to move on, man. If that's the way they have to approach it, I understand,” he was talking about if they made a decision to go forward with the young group without him. And I thought he was responding to a question about what would happen if the team seeks to reduce his salary.

It was, I promise, an honest mistake.

But it's my job to be clear in such a conversation and in how I convey it here, to you.

So I apologize to Washington for failing to be sufficiently clear and to you for a post that didn’t accurately convey his feelings.

I respect Washington, I appreciate the way he deals with me and the media and I regret that my interpretation of his comment shed him in an inaccurate light.