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Eddie George looks to be done in Tenn.
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Old 26 May 2004, 04:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Eddie George looks to be done in Tenn.

In the strongest comments yet from any Tennessee Titans executive about the future of Eddie George, owner Bud Adams acknowledged that the veteran tailback almost certainly will not be back this season.


Speaking to The Tennessean on Tuesday at a two-day league meeting in Amelia Island, Fla., Adams addressed offseason rumors that George will be a post-June 1 salary cap casualty unless he restructures his contract to provide the cap-strapped Titans much needed wiggle room.


"I'm very pessimistic," Adams said. "And I don't see him [coming] back. The closer we get to June 1st, you know, I don't think he'll be with us. I'll be watching someone else [play tailback] for the Titans. That's not what we intended, but it looks like that's the way it's going to be."


Viewed around the league as still productive but clearly in decline over the past two seasons, George is scheduled for a $4.25 million base salary in 2004. His salary cap charge of $7.321 million might be more palatable if he was still playing up to past standards, but it's now considered exorbitant.


General manager Floyd Reese, who seems to annually deal with a salary cap squeeze, spoke to agent Lamont Smith earlier in the offseason about adjusting George's contract. It is believed the Titans suggested George's base salary be halved. But there have been no substantive discussions in recent months and George has hinted in his public statements that he is reluctant to accept a pay cut.


One reason is how the Titans dealt with former middle linebacker Randall Godfrey, a very popular player, last spring. Tennessee first convinced Godfrey to restructure his contract, implying it would help to secure him a roster spot, but subsequently released him anyway.


George was among the most outspoken critics of the maneuver with Godfrey, likening it to stabbing his former teammate in the back.


If the Titans release George after June 1, when teams can ameliorate the impact on their 2004 salary cap, they would still be charged $3.071 million for him while also recouping $4.25 million. Under such a scenario, the Titans would be able to defer a cap hit of about $4.15 million to 2005.


Currently just $1.097 million under the cap, according to documents obtained by ESPN.com, the Titans must create room to sign 13 players selected in the draft. Tennessee has a rookie allocation pool of $4.702 million, fifth-largest in the league.


George, 30, is rehabilitating from offseason knee and ankle surgery, and while he has attended the team's conditioning program he has not been cleared to participate full-speed in workouts. The recent surgeries are further indication of the wear and tear the eight-year veteran has displayed the last couple of seasons, a physical erosion not uncommon to running backs as they near 30.


Although he has never missed a regular-season game, starting 128 straight, George underwent toe surgery in the 2001 offseason that seemed to signal a downturn in production. He rushed for over 1,000 yards each of the last two seasons, but averaged an anemic 3.4 yards per carry.


In fact, not since 1999 has the workhorse averaged more than four yards per attempt and he hasn't been over a 3.5-yard average since 2000. His career total stands at 10,009 yards and he gained 1,000 yards in all but one season.


With his stellar character and warrior mentality, there probably will be a market for George if the Titans release him, but he certainly would have to lower his financial expectations. His current contract runs through 2006. The Titans did pay George a $1 million roster bonus in March, perhaps a sign that they felt, at that point, there was a chance of retaining him.


"I'm sitting here now, [and] it looks to me like his agent doesn't want him to play for us," Adams said. "We offered him a pretty good deal, but he wouldn't take it. So we won't have much choice. [George] is a leader, we've won a lot of games with him, and he's a good guy to have on the team. You hate to lose a guy like that, but we have to look at the overall situation."


The heir apparent to George is Chris Brown, a third-round pick from Colorado in the 2003 draft, but a youngster who suffered through a nagging hamstring injury as a rookie. His upright running style is frequently compared to that of George.


Appearing in 11 games, Brown carried 56 times for 221 yards and no touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for 61 yards and no scores.


"If [Brown] is over his injury, and I think he is, he could move into that [starting] spot," Adams allowed. "That wasn't our intention. Our intention was to get Eddie back. But we made our offer, they said no, so I don't see that happening."


The earliest the Titans could release George and still gain some cap relief for 2004 is after 4 p.m. on June 1.

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Old 26 May 2004, 04:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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's too bad.....George should be one of those guys that stays with one franchise his entire career.....
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Old 26 May 2004, 04:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Eddie is a good guy, I've always liked him as a player.

But sadly it's safe to say his best days are behind him, I think he should just hang em up and call it a career. He can still be productive somewhat but it's not what the Titans are looking for.
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Old 26 May 2004, 05:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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He could go to the Cowboys.
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Old 26 May 2004, 05:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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^^^I wish, but there is no way he will go there. Jones is their guy...for now.
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Old 26 May 2004, 09:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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^^They'd be stupid to go with a rookie rb for the entire year, if they can get George for like 2 years, then i think they'll take him in the market
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Old 26 May 2004, 09:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There's nothing wrong with a rookie running back. There's tons of rooking backs that had sucess. The only position that you really wouldn't want to start a rookie is at QB. Plus where talking about Jerry Jones. He's not going to sign him.
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