NFL: Fisher: Young not welcome at team meeting
AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher says though he had an assistant tell Vince Young not to attend a team meeting, the quarterback has not been banned from the team’s headquarters.
“I went to look for Vince in the locker room prior to a team meeting, couldn’t find him. I had one of my assistants inform Vince he was not welcome in the team meeting for obvious reasons,” Fisher said Tuesday night on his weekly radio show. “I discussed the situation that happened the night before” at the meeting.
Young’s teammates witnessed the heated exchange between the quarterback and coach in the locker room after Sunday’s overtime loss to Washington. Young, who had tossed his pads into the stands when leaving the field, then stormed out of the stadium.
Fisher said what happens in the locker room after a game is supposed to be confidential.
“We had an incident in the locker room, and it was very unfortunate. It’s been well documented,” Fisher said. “As a result of not only the incident in the locker room but also more importantly the injury to Vince’s thumb, Vince is not going to play anymore this season.”
The quarterback needs season-ending surgery, and Fisher said that involves inserting a pin to help the flexor tendon heal.
But Young’s situation is more complicated than the injury.
The Titans placed Young on injured reserve Tuesday even as media reports surfaced that the quarterback wasn’t welcome at the team’s headquarters and had been told to leave. The team issued a statement a couple hours after the first report, saying Young had been told not to attend the team meeting and was free to leave.
Fisher said Young is on injured reserve, and that such players are permitted in the building. Players on injured reserve work with team trainers on their rehabilitation.
“There’s been speculation he was banned from the building. That was not correct,” said Fisher, who added that he would not address Young’s situation again after Tuesday night.
Young could not be immediately reached Tuesday, nor his agent, Tom Condon, who was traveling and unavailable.
The statement Tuesday called the first report by The Tennessean “incorrect.” The Tennessean, citing unidentified sources, said Young was in the training room Monday when asked to leave the facility by the quarterbacks coach and told he wasn’t wanted in the building after what happened Sunday. The newspaper said Young left without incident.
The Titans can’t ban Young from team property, not with his contract running through 2011.
The franchise learned that lesson in 2006 when Steve McNair won a grievance after an arbitrator ruled his contract had been breached when the team barred him from working out at the facility. Team officials had worried about being on the hook for a $23.4 million salary cap hit if he got hurt.
Complicating the Young situation even more is that while his relationship with Fisher seems likely beyond repair at this point, owner Bud Adams told The Tennessean on Monday that he wants his quarterback and coach to work together.
But Fisher had said Young wouldn’t start Sunday against Houston even if healthy after his latest meltdown. Fisher hasn’t talked to Young since the quarterback left the stadium, He called Young’s agent to pass on the news that his season was being ended by being placed on injured reserve. It doesn’t sound as if Fisher is in a hurry to speak to Young either, not with seven games remaining and the Titans (5-5) just a game out of the AFC South.
The coach said Monday the issue of whether Young will ever play for him again will be dealt with when the season’s over.
“I think there will be a conversation at some point. I’m not going to put a timetable on it. He’s on injured reserve, and we’re moving on,” Fisher said.
Notes: The Titans officially signed Chris Simms to back up Smith on Tuesday. They also activated LB David Thornton, who spent the first part of the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, and waived G Ryan Durand.