VY will play it cool this fall

By Jim Wyatt
Updated: April 21, 2009

NASHVILLE — Titans quarterback Vince Young broke his silence with the media on Sunday night, saying he plans a quiet approach to the 2009 season — work hard and stay out of the spotlight.

“I am just going to keep my mouth closed, man. All I am doing this year is shutting up, just shutting up and working,” Young said. “I am going to smile and shut up and continue being Vince Young, a happy smiling guy. I am not going to get into the hoopla any more because of the fact I can’t win any more, I see.

“I am just going to shut my mouth and play my role and if they need me then I will be available as a weapon.”

Young participated in the third annual Celebrity Basketball Game at Tennessee State’s Gentry Center on Sunday night, joining many of his Titans teammates in an exhausting 146-142 victory over a team of celebrities and professional basketball players.

After the game he spoke to The Tennessean, making his first public statements since the end of the 2008 season, during which he lost his starting job to veteran Kerry Collins and never got it back as questions about his attitude and maturity flourished.

This offseason the Titans re-signed Collins to a two-year, $14 million deal and named him the starter for 2009. Then they added journeyman Patrick Ramsey earlier this month after losing free agent Chris Simms, the No. 3 quarterback last season, to the Broncos.

“I don’t have nothing against Kerry,” Young said. “Kerry is just doing his job and that is the same thing I want to do, take care of my job and wait for my turn when they call me.”

When that time might come, Young isn’t sure.

“I haven’t the slightest idea,” he said. “I am just leaving that to other people and trying to get myself in shape and get myself ready. I do know I am healthy and my body feels great and it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way.

“But I can’t even think about my time. I just have to stay focused and prepared and continue throwing the ball and being ready when they need me.”

Young has been busy since the end of the season, on the field and off. A week ago he attended an event for Muhammad Ali. He’s also made the rounds for business opportunities and work with his foundation. He’s been a regular at Baptist Sports Park in the Titans’ conditioning program, gearing up for the May and June minicamps.

Young started 28 games over his first two seasons, including his 2006 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign, and the first game last season against the Jaguars. But after throwing an interception and being booed by the crowd at LP Field, Young initially refused to go back into the game.

Then he was injured and replaced by Collins, who rallied the Titans to victory, kicking off a 10-0 start. Young saw action in only two more games, in mop-up duty.

Earlier this offseason he went to Coach Jeff Fisher to discuss his role for ’09.

“I just basically went in and said I don’t know what is going on, but I am going to come in there and work and go from there and let him make his own decision,” Young said. “I just want to keep working out and staying out of the way unless they need me.

“I just told him what was on my mind and how I feel about the situation. I don’t want them to give me anything. I just want to come in and earn everything.”

Despite his uncertain future, however, Young said he’s still happy with the Titans and Nashville, he holds no grudges and isn’t demanding a fresh start somewhere else. Athletes the likes of Kobe Bryant and Clyde Drexler are among those who have offered their advice and support, he said.

Sunday night Young appeared to have a ball with his Titan teammates. He drew an ovation with a nifty no-look, behind-the-back pass, then stayed around later to sign autographs for fans.

“I definitely want to be in Nashville and it is a team I am committed to. But it is always a business and you never know what goes on. But I will always have myself prepared,” Young said.

“I just don’t want them to say anything about Vince Young that he is not taking care of his responsibilities. I will always take of my responsibilities if I am not playing or if I am playing. I don’t want no negative stuff going out to other teams saying Vince Young is not playing and because he’s being a bad guy. That is not me.

“Whatever they want me to do that is what I am going to do. If they want me to sit on the sideline and be there to watch the game then that is OK with me, but at the same time I am getting my checks and I am fine.”