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Old 06-07-2004   #1
Vinny
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Default George Close to an Agreement

Titans, George nearing agreement
By Terry McCormick, tmccormick@nashvillecitypaper.com
June 07, 2004

Quote:
A week ago, Eddie George looked to have carried the ball for the final time as a Tennessee Titan. Owner Bud Adams had sounded off about George’s agent’s unwillingness to negotiate at the recent NFL owners meetings. A day later, George’s agent Lamont Smith went public to the local media to voice his displeasure with Adams’ remarks. George himself later commented to the New York Times that his future in Tennessee didn’t exactly look rosy. And now, though it not a sure thing the Titans and George will work out their differences, this past week’s meeting seemed to turn the negotiation tide a bit.

George met with Titans coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Floyd Reese and others (with agent Lamont Smith joining by phone) Thursday, and the two sides appeared to be, if not on the same page, at least back in the same chapter.

In getting things back on track and away from media shouting matches, some credit here must go to Fisher and Reese and to George’s representatives, Smith and Peter Schaffer, who decided to go behind the scenes, patch up their differences and see what common ground they could find to perhaps keep the franchise’s all-time leading rusher from leaving town as a cap casualty.

Some credit must also go to George for stepping back and looking at his Titans’ glass as half full, despite the stormy offseason. Both sides in this seemed to realize George probably has more value (both monetarily and intangibly) to and for the Titans than anywhere else.

One veteran sports agent advises George’s current value on the open market “probably would be no more than $2 million.” If that is indeed the case, George’s best scenario then is to stay in Tennessee rather than leave his comfort zone for a team and a deal that wouldn’t be much better financially, and even riskier when it comes to finding the right offensive fit. That assessment apparently got through to George, and the veteran running back put some of the hurt feelings aside and was instrumental in initiating the “clear the air” meeting last week that could keep him in a Tennessee uniform.

There are still hurdles to be cleared here, of course. The money situation must be worked out. And even if George is amenable to taking the cut, he has to know that Chris Brown’s time has come. The second-year back’s role in the offense is going to expand this season, perhaps to the point where he is the feature back. But as long as George can live with that, he can finish his storied career in Tennessee and put this somewhat painful chapter to rest for good.
nashvillecitypaper.com
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