Steve Hutchinson to Titans
According to a source, the deal is for three years. Further terms were unavailable, but the move could play into Peyton Manning's pending decision. The Titans wanted to add Hutchinson to help convince Manning to join the Titans. Manning met with the Titans for more than eight hours on Wednesday.
"I have evaluated hundreds of players coming out of college in my time as a coach and [Hutchinson] may have been the finest college guard I have watched," coach Mike Munchak said in a statement. "I still see him [on tape] playing at a high level, even in his 11th NFL season. He brings experience and success to our line and into the locker room. He is just an all-around good football player and we are excited to have him."
Hutchinson, released by the Vikings on Saturday, was in Seattle considering rejoining the team that drafted him. Owner Paul Allen was in favor of bringing Hutchinson back. Hutchinson, a five-time first-team All-Pro pick, missed the last two games of the 2011 season with a concussion, just the third time in his 11 pro seasons he didn't play in all 16 games.
The 34-year-old was due a $6.95 million salary this year, but was released as Minnesota tries to get younger after a 3-13 season.
"Steve is a really talented player who has had a great deal of success in this league," Titans general manager Ruston Webster said in the statement. "I like his leadership and his toughness and he will obviously add to the overall talent of the group upfront."
Hutchinson left the Seahawks in 2006 to sign the richest contract (seven years, $49 million) for a guard in league history and gave the Vikings plenty of bang for their buck until injuries slowed him in recent seasons.
He started 131 consecutive games including the playoffs until a broken right thumb sidelined him at the end of 2010. His last of seven Pro Bowl selections came two years ago, and his durability and dominant blocking weren't what they once were.
Now Hutchinson will help block for Chris Johnson, the sixth man in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards or more. But Johnson had a career-worst 1,047 yards in 2011 after signing a big contract extension. The Titans ranked 31st, averaging 89.8 yards rushing per game.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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