Titans owner Bud Adams said QB Vince Young and head coach Jeff Fisher need to resolve their differences in the wake of a postgame argument that resulted in Young abruptly leaving the Titans' locker room, Adams told The (Nashville) Tennessean Monday. Young had been removed from Sunday's game, a 19-16 overtime loss to Washington, after suffering a right thumb injury that will require surgery.
"They are going to have to work together," Adams said Monday, according to The Tennessean. "I haven't given up on Vince, and I am sure Fisher hasn't either. Vince was upset and said some things he regretted after doing it, but you have to get to the bottom of it, straighten it out and move on.
"It is one of those things that happened. It has happened, it is all over with and we want to get Vince back and playing again for us. ... These things happen. I have been at this thing for a long time, about 51 years now. I have seen a lot of things happen and I don't want to go jumping off the building over something happening one time."
The Titans placed Young on injured reserve Monday. He has a torn tendon in his right thumb that will be surgically repaired. Fisher said the Titans will sign veteran QB Chris Simms, whom Tennessee released in September, to be the backup to rookie Rusty Smith, who relieved Young on Sunday. Kerry Collins, who likely would have replaced Young, has a calf injury and is expected to miss the Week 12 game at Houston on Sunday.
After Young's outburst, Fisher said Young was no longer the Titans' starter even if he were healthy enough to play. But Adams told The Tennessean that Young will be back, and he noted that Fisher, like Young, is under contract through 2011.
"I talked to all of them and told them to get this thing settled down and get back to work," Adams said of Fisher and Young.
In an interview with ESPN published Monday, Young indicated he was frustrated with Fisher on Sunday, believing the head coach failed to show confidence in him by not putting him back in the game after his thumb injury. Moreover, Young told ESPN he was upset he didn't start in Week 10 at Miami; at the time, Young was coming back from an ankle injury.
On Monday, Fisher disputed the claim that Young had asked to be put back in the game vs. Washington. "He did not tell the head coach, the offensive coordinator or the QB coach (he wanted to return), so as far as I'm concerned, he didn't tell anybody," Fisher said, according to The Tennessean.
The PFW spin
In some ways, Adams' approach to this conflict makes sense. If he plans to retain Fisher and Young in 2011, he's right; both of them have to move on from this.
But can they?
Adams, according to The Tennessean, chalked up Young's frustration and subsquent outburst to competitiveness and his injury. "Vince was just so upset with himself getting hurt that he was running mad about everything," Adams said, according to the paper. "Vince is a young guy and a good player and he has never had an injury like this before, and it is getting to him."
The bigger issue, however, is not that Young was upset, it's how he handled the situation. The fallout continues today as his team, which has lost three straight games, prepares for Houston in a pivotal division game. At the least, Young's actions were an unnecessary distraction. It can be argued he undermined Fisher by walking out.
Adams' support for Young, signed through 2011, was pretty clear in his interview with The Tennessean. As for Fisher, Adams told the paper, “He is under contract, too. They can’t change that. They are under contract. That is why you have a contract.”
The obvious question concerns the next contracts for Young and Fisher. Will they come from Adams or from another owner? If Fisher and Young can't mend fences and enter next season as free-agents-to-be, the speculation about the future of both men would run rampant.
Adams is correct; he has his starting head coach and quarterback under contract for 2011. But some would argue his decision on both Fisher and Young has to come sooner than that.