Tag:Mike Reinfeldt
Posted on: October 1, 2011 6:16 pm
 

Tributes pour out for Heimerdinger

Mike Heimerdinger, takling with V. Young, died Friday night (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

After the death of longtime assistant coach Mike Heimerdinger from cancer on Friday, his former colleagues and players have released statements expressing their sadness and their condolences. Here are a few of them (you can find more of them from our Rapid Reporters):

Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt: “We are saddened today to hear the tragic news of Mike's passing. Mike was a good man that brought a great level of dedication and professionalism to his job. He was brave in his fight over the last year and showed such a commitment to the game. Nothing was going to stop him last season from being a part of the team and having his stamp on the games. Our thoughts go out to Kathie and his kids through this difficult time. Mike and his family will always be with us.”

Titans coach Mike Munchak: “My prayers are with his family. Mike was a great football coach; and over the years, we had a great relationship. I learned a lot of football from Mike and I have a number of great memories and experiences that will always be with me. It is just hard to believe he is gone. It is a sad day for his family and for those who knew him.”

 Titans running back Chris Johnson: “He was a great coach and a tough coach. I know I wouldn’t have become the player I am without his confidence and the trust that he showed in me. My thoughts go out to his family.”

Former NFL center and NFLPA President  Kevin Mawae: “It is with great regret and sorrow that we learn of the passing of Coach Mike Heimerdinger. "Dinger", as many people knew him, was a great coach and a good man. For those who knew him and played for him, they knew Dinger was a man who loved his family, enjoyed his players, and loved the game of football. Dinger's fight with cancer was indicative of the type of person he was; determined and courageous. It was my privilege to play for Dinger while with the New York Jets and the Tennessee Titans. I am better for having known and played for him. The NFL community has lost a great member of its fraternity this week. On behalf of the National Football League Players Association, the players offer their condolences to Kathie, Alicia, Brian and the rest of the Heimerdinger family."

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who employed Heimerdinger as an assistant in Denver and was a roommate of Heimerdinger’s at Eastern Illinois: "We lost a very special person and my best friend in Mike Heimerdinger. I know the man upstairs needed a superstar so he took him earlier than we all wanted. His love for his family was unprecedented and I will forever miss him."

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who was coached by Heimerdinger with the Broncos: "Thoughts and prayers are with the Heimerdinger family. We lost a great man last night."

Houston Chronicle sports writer John McClain: “I've been covering the NFL for more than 30 years. Only one coach ever called and thanked me for covering him when he left: Mike Heimerdinger.”

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Posted on: September 18, 2011 6:52 pm
 

Titans fans boo Chris Johnson in win over Ravens

Posted by Will Brinson



On Sunday, Mike Munchak get his first career win as a head coach thanks to the Titans steamrolling the Ravens, 26-13.

The Titans moved to 1-1, but there's got to be some concern with the performance of Chris Johnson, who got a big new contract from the Titans after a prolonged holdout, and who rushed for a paltry 53 yards on 24 carries.

His performance was so lackluster that Tennessee fans started booing the franchise running back during the team's win.

"It didn't really bother me at all," Johnson said, per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Perhaps it doesn't bother Johnson now -- his team's 1-1 after the victory Sunday. But they should probably be 2-0. Even if they were undefeated, though, it's pretty hard for Johnson to justify his performance thus far in the season given that he refused to show up for training camp and even tried to refuse to "only" take enough money to make him the highest-paid running back in the NFL.

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 3:18 pm
 

Titans, Johnson agree to 4-year, $53.5M deal



Posted by Ryan Wilson

Chris Johnson has a new contract. According to the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt, the Titans and Johnson agreed to four-year, $53.5 million deal with $30 million in guarantees. It took all of training camp and almost the entire preseason, but one of the NFL's best running backs will return to Tennessee's backfield in time for the start of the regular season to do what he does best: take pressure off the offense and put it squarely on opposing defenses.

Last month, Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said that the organization was willing to make Johnson the NFL's highest-paid running back. Johnson wanted more, and the stalemate continued until Thursday.

Wyatt writes that Johnson was scheduled to make $1.065 million in 2011. With an average salary of $13.5 million, his contract not only makes him the NFL’s highest paid running back, it also puts him in a category among the game’s “elite” players.

Chris Johnson Gets Paid
Wyatt continues: The highest paid running backs in the league make roughly $9.5 million to $10.5 million per year annually over the first three years of the deal. Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson is scheduled to make $10.7 million in the final year of his contract. Last month, the Panthers reached a deal with running back DeAngelo Williams that gave him $21 million in guaranteed money.

Johnson and the Titans met last week but the two sides remained far apart on a new contract. On Wednesday there were reports that there was finally "positive movement for the first time," and, a day later, Johnson has a shiny, new deal. Now the running back will be under contract for the next six years through 2016. 

The 24th overall pick in the 2008 draft, Johnson led the NFL in yards rushing the past three seasons. In 2009, he became only the sixth man in NFL history to rush for at least 2,000 yards and ended the year with 2,006 yards.

The Titans, who wrap up the preseason Thursday night at New Orleans, wanted Johnson to at least have a few days of practice with new quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in a revised offense under coordinator Chris Palmer and new head coach Mike Munchak. The only other running back with any NFL carries is Javon Ringer with 59 in his career, and he has been hurt most of the preseason. Rookie Jamie Harper from Clemson started the past two preseason games for Tennessee.

Fullback Ahmard Hall said Tuesday that Johnson would have some work once he does arrive to learn the changes in Palmer's offense, especially with the different terminology. "You're going to have to think," Hall said, according to the Associated Press. "You're not going to just be able to roll in and hit the ground running as if coach (Mike) Heimerdinger were still here. Coach Palmer has put in a lot of good things, bu the language is different. He's definitely going to have to think. The sooner he gets in the better."

With Johnson's contract now out of the way, all that's left is to get Tennessee back to the playoffs. That journey starts in earnest on September 11 when the Titans face the Jaguars in the regular-season opener.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 2:45 pm
 

Chris Johnson tells 'fake Titans fans' to 'STFU'

Posted by Will Brinson

Earlier on Wednesday, we brought you the story of the MRI that Arian Foster posted on Twitter. This drew some attention. But probably not as much attention as Chris Johnson's string of tweets on Wednesday afternoon that were directed at 'fake Titans fans.'

"Can these fake Titan fans STFU on my timeline I don't have a regular job so don't compare me to you and I can care less if uthink I'm greedy," Johnson tweeted.

For those not down with the hip language that the kids use, "STFU" is a non-too-friendly request for someone to "shut the [expletive] up. (The really cool kids, like me, have moved on to saying "Shut the front door!" but that's neither here nor there.)

If you're a real Titans fan and feel offended because of Johnson's tweets, you shouldn't. He still loves you.

"If you was a real fan my tweet would not bother you it only make the fake fans upset," Johnson added later, while also tweeting "Luv the real fans."

Chris Johnson's Holdout

Obviously, these tweets are related to Johnson's contract situation -- he's currently holding out for what I like to call "Manning money," and won't be satisfied until the Titans make him not just the highest-paid running back in the NFL, but one of the highest-paid players in the NFL.

We've covered most of this ground already. If you want a primer on why Johnson shouldn't get paid the amount of money he wants from Tennessee, you should absolutely read my colleague Ryan Wilson's excellent breakdown on the situation.

It's also abundantly clear that the Titans can't/won't trade Johnson. And we know that Johnson isn't a great candidate to cave and just show up for work until the Titans actually satisfy his demands for more money.

But this latest social-media barrage is indicative of a guy who's extremely frustrated with his situation -- the Titans may eventually pay Johnson the amount of money he wants, but by flailing out at fans on Twitter, whether they be "real" or "fake," Johnson isn't doing himself any favors in terms of showing how calm he's taking the negotiating process.

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Posted on: August 25, 2011 8:05 pm
 

Munchak: Titans not trading Chris Johnson

Posted by Will Brinson

The Titans and Chris Johnson had a little pow-wow in Nashville recently, and things -- to quote CJ2K himself -- got "worst." Johnson departed the meeting without any deal and it sure seems now like his holdout could last into the season.

This has many people wondering if the Titans would trade one of the top running backs in the game. In fact, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Thursday that Johnson's camp could seek a trade as its next step. But according to Titans coach Mike Munchak, it'll probably be fruitless of them to do so.

"I would think we wouldn’t do anything. We would think he is under contact for two more years; he is going to be a Titan, hopefully longer than that,”"Munchak Thursday, per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. "I don't think that is anything we’d give any consideration to.

"He is with us, one way or the other, and hopefully it is on the field."

Chris Johnson's Holdout

Munchak also added that the Titans front office "hadn't talked about" a potential trade involving Johnson.

And that's probably true, and there are a number of reasons. For starters, who the hell is going to be able to meet a) whatever bounty the Titans want in exchange and b) whatever salary demands Johnson has once he arrives in his new camp.

The answer is "almost no one." After all, if you thought the Kevin Kolb trade the Cardinals made was a doozy, imagine what it would take to move Johnson.

Plus, Bud Adams isn't the type of owner, as noted by his recent quotes, to just cave to Johnson, particularly after a lengthy lockout that eventually yielded a CBA which was specifically designed to punish players that held out.

There's still probably a good chance that we end up seeing Johnson squeeze a little more cash out the Titans as Labor Day approaches, but expecting them to give him "Manning money" just to get him on the field is an unrealistic proposition.

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Posted on: August 24, 2011 5:03 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 7:13 am
 

Titans, Chris Johnson end meeting without deal

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Tuesday, Titans running back Chris Johnson was headed to Nashville to meet with the organization, ostensibly to discuss a new contract. As for what he was expecting, Johnson was both cryptic and pragmatic, tweeting "Could get better or worst."

Well, according to reports, the two sides have gone their separate ways Wednesday afternoon, no deal has been announced, and no update given as to the status of Johnson's ongoing holdout. Neither Johnson nor his agent Joel Segal, or Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt, were immediately available for comment, the Associated Press reported.

This is the latest chapter in a saga that has dragged on since training camps began in late July. Johnson hinted during the offseason that he wanted a new contract, and two weeks ago Reinfeldt announced that the team was willing to make Johnson the league's "highest-paid running back." He'd just need Johnson to show up to camp and negotiations would proceed from there.

Seemed reasonable except that Johnson wanted to be one of the NFL's highest-paid players. And even after a face-to-face meeting Wednesday, the impasse continues.

We've argued that Tennessee shouldn't pay Johnson. Not because he's not a great player, but because running backs are fungible. In the Titans' last preseason game, Jamie Harper rushed for 83 yards on 11 carries, and Stafon Johnson added 68 yards on 11 carries.

Chris Johnson's Holdout

While we shouldn't make too much of one preseason game, there are countless examples from the regular season, too. Willie Parker, Chris Ivory and Arian Foster immediately come to mind as undrafted backs who got opportunities after players ahead of them were injured.

It's rare that a player holding out for more money has leverage over the team, but the Titans have a rookie quarterback in Jake Locker (though Matt Hasselbeck will likely start the season under center) who will need all the help he can get. And there's the very real chance that the league suspends wide receiver Kenny Britt, Tennessee's second-biggest offensive weapon.

Whether it's enough to force the Titans' hand is another story, especially since the team -- with Johnson on the field -- won six games in 2010 and eight games the year before.

And if he does return before the regular season? Head coach Mike Munchak says Johnson can't just show up and expect 30 touches a game

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 2:54 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2011 3:28 pm
 

Chris Johnson to meet with Titans GM Reinfeldt

Posted by Will Brinson

The Chris Johnson holdout saga has reached somewhat of a breaking point. We're now just a few weeks away from Tennessee's season opener and not only is a deal "not close" but Titans owner Bud Adams is expressing frustration at the running backs' refusal to play.

So here's some potentially good -- or potentially "worst" -- news: Johnson is flying to Nashville Wednesday with his agent to meet with Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt.

"Flying out to Nashville tonight to meet with Joel and the GM in the morning to see which way were going," Johnson tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. "Could get better or worst."

So, yeah, no real "news" in terms of whether or not Johnson and Joel Segal (his agent) are actually going to make progress with the Titans on a new deal.

However, Johnson is actually showing up in Nashville, even if it's only to get in a conference room war of words about how much money currently divides the two sides.

So that's good news. In theory.

Chris Johnson's Holdout

Our own Ryan Wilson has made a compelling argument why the Titans shouldn't pay Johnson and it's hard to fault his the logic. Basically: Johnson's a running back and regardless of how talented and explosive a playmaker he may be, he's got a short shelf life and is much more replaceable than other players in the league.

The Titans surely know this and regardless of whether or not Johnson's saved up his money while expecting a lengthy holdout, are probably not willing to destroy their salary cap for the foreseeable future in order to make Johnson happy and get him into camp.

At the same time, there's no doubt that Johnson is one of the few true gamechangers at his position and arguably the most dynamic running back in the NFL.

He's been vastly underpaid to this point in his career and seems willing to do whatever's necessary to ensure he gets his money now. Whether or not either side is willing to compromise will determine whether things gets better or worst.

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Posted on: August 21, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: August 21, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Titans say new deal with Chris Johnson not close

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Titans running back Chris Johnson hinted during the lockout that he wanted a new contract. And he came right out and said it once owners and players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. Johnson has yet to show up to training camp, and despite Tennessee general manager Mike Reinfeldt saying the team is ready to make him the NFL's "highest-paid running back," it sounds like Johnson's looking for something more than that.

Good news: Johnson returned to Nashville Saturday. Bad news: it wasn't to meet with the team -- he was in town for personal business.

In fact, the Titans say the two sides aren't even close to a new deal.

“We’ve discussed parameters," Reinfeldt told the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt before the team played the Rams Saturday. "If we can’t agree on the parameters, there’s no sense making offers. If your parameters are different … and if you are talking a different language then you are wasting your time. We’ve talked to his agent and will continue to talk to his agent.”

Also not helping things: Saturday night's announcement that the Cardinals gave Larry Fitzgerald, one of the league's best wide receivers, a shiny, new eight-year, $120 million contract that included $50 million in guarantees.

This prompted CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman to write, "You don't give that kind of guaranteed money to a wide receiver. Quarterbacks, yes. … A wide receiver? That's idiotic. Maybe a left tackle. Emphasis on maybe. Maybe a pass rusher. Emphasis on maybe. But not a wideout.

Chris Johnson's Holdout

"Fitzgerald is a future Hall of Famer, a hard worker, and someone who comes from good family," Freeman continued. "He's a leader. He deserves a huge payday but you don't give a wideout quarterback money in a salary cap league. Fitzgerald alone now occupies some 12 percent of Arizona's salary cap."

We've expressed similar views about Johnson. Namely that, even though he's one of the league's two best running backs, Tennessee shouldn't break the bank to keep him.

Johnson and his agent likely have a different view, and it could mean that signing him will be even more difficult for the Titans. Shortly after Fitzgerald's new contract was announced Johnson and Fitzgerald went back and forth on Twitter:
  • Johnson: "Congrats to @LarryFitzgerald god is good."
  • Fitzgerald: "thanks CJ you up next my guy." 
  • Johnson: "Yes sir." 
In Johnson's absence, backup running backs Jamie Harper and Stafon Johnson played well. Harper rushed for 83 yards on 11 carries and scored a touchdown; Johnson added 68 yards on 11 carries. Each players ripped off long runs from scrimmage (a 46-yarder for Harper, a 29-yarder for Johnson), and the Titans finished with 198 rushing yards in their 17-16 loss to the Rams.

We don't expect one performance by two backups as reason enough to prompt Johnson to the negotiating table. But it's further evidence that running backs, in general, play the most fungible position on the field.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com