Posted by Ryan Wilson
Once the lockout is lifted -- and that looks like it could happen before July -- the Tennessee Titans will have plenty of personnel decisions to make. In addition to determining if first-round pick Jake Locker can be the Week 1 starter, there's also the small matter of wide receiver Kenny Britt, who can't seem go very long without getting arrested.
Britt's most recent arrest -- his sixth since the Titans drafted him in 2009 -- came Wednesday. But if professional sports have taught us anything it's that talent trumps just about everything else, including character.
It's ironic that we hear so much about the perils of "off-field issues" in the weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft, when the reality is that "character concerns" work on a sliding scale. A college player projects to be a mediocre pro? He's dropped from most NFL teams' draft board because he's not worth the hassle. But if he projects to be a possible Pro Bowler, there's a willingness to look past certain personality flaws because … well, at the end of the day, the NFL is a business. And, in general, winning is good for business.
So while a lesser player would be in line for his release (teams can't cut players during a lockout), Britt's job is safe. It's one of the perks that come with being a big-play wideout.
Tennessee, more than most teams, is familiar with giving second and third chances to at-risk players. "Under [former head coach Jeff] Fisher, the Titans had a reputation for bending to help players with baggage -- Adam 'Pacman' Jones, Albert Haynesworth and Randy Moss being recent examples," NFL.com's Albert Breer writes. "New coach Mike Munchak wants a more structured environment, and those in the organization expect him to come down hard on Britt whenever the three-month-old lockout ends."
Breer adds that the Titans consider Britt the second-best player on the roster after Chris Johnson. And while they aren't close to giving up on him they will discipline him. Whatever the Titans decided, the league could weigh in, too. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said previously that player misconduct during the lockout could be reviewed once there is a new collective bargaining agreement. Which means that Britt, like Brandon Marshall, could be subject to the league's personal conduct policy.
As for who might be throwing Britt the ball this fall, the list of possible candidates is ever-expanding. We know that the Vince Young era in Tennessee will be over before the ink is dry on a new CBA, but Locker, Matt Hasselbeck, and Kerry Collins are all contenders. General manager Mike Reinfeldt has said from the beginning that the Titans won't rush Locker and that they'd pursue a veteran quarterback.
Hasselbeck's name was floated earlier in the week, and Collins, who sounded like he had taken his last snap for the Titans, told the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt that he definitely wants to come back in 2011. No word on if he's willing to be a nursemaid, however.
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