Finnegan walks out of camp, skips Titans workout at LP Field

Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 5:14pm

The sizable patch of green, which indicates rain, on regional weather radar Saturday afternoon undoubtedly kept a lot of fans away from LP Field.

Green also was the reason Cortland Finnegan also was a no-show, albeit a different kind of green.

Just hours after his representatives submitted a proposal on a contract extension to the Tennessee Titans, the veteran cornerback walked out of training camp. In so doing, he joined running back Chris Johnson, absent since the start of camp, in a game of hide-and-please-pay, which the franchise does not want to play.

“He needs to come back to camp,” general manager Mike Reinfeldt said. “We’re not going to have any contract discussions as long as he’s not in camp.

“…It’s disappointing because in the last two weeks we’ve signed 34 guys. I’ve talked to him. Coach [Mike] Munchak did. [We said], ‘Hey be patient, we’ll get to you.’ We made an offer. They made a counter offer. That’s kind of how it works.”

Finnegan has entered the final year of his current contract and is scheduled to earn $3.8 million in salary.

According to Reinfeldt, the latest counter offer on an extension from Finnegan’s agent was received at 5 p.m. Friday. He said he and his staff were in the process of reviewing that offer and expected to formulate a response sometime during the weekend.

All attempts to contact the player on Saturday were unsuccessful. Reinfeldt added that neither Finnegan nor his representatives have asked for a trade.

“If you can find a contract extension that makes sense for both sides, we should do it,” Reinfeldt said. “If not, making $3.8 million is not the worst thing in the world either. … There was the intent to sit down with his agent and talk. I think … we thought we could work out an extension that both sides would be OK with. So it kind of caught us off guard.”

Reinfeldt has maintained a similar stance of no talks while not at camp with Johnson, although he conceded that the team has offered a compromise.

“We’ve asked him to come in,” Reinfeldt said. “He has a contract. As far as practicing, that’s something we can work out. It’s important for him to be here and attend the meetings. We’re not going to put him in harm’s way either. There’s a subtlety there.”

There likely is less reason for the team to be accommodating with Finnegan. The Titans have drafted a cornerback each of the last three years and earlier in the week signed veteran Frank Walker for depth.

“If we need, we’ll go find other players,” Reinfeldt said.

The fact that Finnegan was persona non grata at the most high-profile practice of the offseason — a crowd of roughly 4,100 did brave the weather, which ultimately held up — was somewhat unique given the leadership role he assumed with players-only workouts during the lockout.

The session included some low-impact scrimmage work in two-minute, four-minute, red zone and backed up [on offense] situations, among others.

“He was here for the [first] week, practiced well and did everything we asked of him,” Munchak said. “He was looking good. So this was obviously unexpected. … We’re all professionals and we understand the business. I think you same the same thing in this practice.”

It’s just that no one saw two of the more familiar names on the roster.

“It’s a little distracting,” Reinfeldt said. “I think the unfortunate thing is our guys are guys who are under contract. Usually you have holdouts when you have guys who haven’t signed contracts — draft picks, franchise tags. These guys have contracts. We’ll get through it. It’s part of an NFL season.”

6 Comments on this post:

By: tn.native on 8/6/11 at 10:49

Leaving at such a pointed time makes it seem like Finnegan kinda dissed the new coach as well as the team. Probably not good for team spirit but at the same time Munchak might have seen something in practice that caught his eye. He seems to have a strong sense of where he wants to take this team. Maybe he knows it might be a little rough this first year, it has been quite a makeover, and he plans on taking this first year to just develop individual players,... with all the new talent you gotta figure out where everybody ultimately goes. That will be the shape of the team and it will be a very different team at the end of the year. I'll dampen my expectations for the first season and enjoy the positives...and the occasional

By: serr8d on 8/7/11 at 7:01

"...The fact that Finnegan was persona non grata...

I don't think persona non grata means what you think it means. As you've worded it, it means that the Titans wanted Finnegan to stay away from practice; I think your intent was to signal that Finnegan was a surprising no-show.

That might be best if he remains a no-show, really. How much trouble did he cause for Jeff Fisher last year? I recall Finnegan had Denver's coach Josh McDaniels in a state of apoplexy after his red-haired-stepchild on-field behaviors.

As for Johnson? I've just about had my fill of his narcissistic tantrums. If we can cut the likes of Vince Young and not look back, the rest of these mincing players had better watch their steps.

By: hermb on 8/7/11 at 10:03

If he doesn't understand he's under contract,get rid of him. He's a trouble maker anyway. Malcontents are no good for the team.


By: therapacize47 on 8/7/11 at 10:05

I really feel for both these guys. They were taken advantage ofwhen signing a contract. After all, who can live the year on just over 3 1/2 million? Of course we should always put more money out there when someone is unhappy! My fondest wish is that Mr. Finnegan would spend part of that $3.7+ million and buy me a couple of tickets to the game against Dallas. I can not afford to buy tickets to support his salary so I'm sure in his heart he would want me to see him excel - or not. Oh - and make sure they're good seats. I don't take just any freebie, I'm too good for that.

By: serr8d on 8/7/11 at 2:46

Oh. This article? Nevermind.

“My absence had nothing to do with a holdout yet a personal matter that Titan officials were aware of. I am grateful for being a Titan,” Finnegan wrote. “I am also thankful for my current contract and direction of team. It’s obvious media had no idea of why my absence took place. I have spoken with coaches and teammates and will resume all things asked. Sad to see media made this out to be about money when I’m happy.”

Finnegan then asked for forgiveness and blamed the media for the misunderstanding.

By: 4gold on 8/8/11 at 6:10

Yea, all these poor players that have been taken advantage of. They are the most grossly overpaid people in todays society and they are still not happy while they price the public out of the sport. Most teams as it is are supported by big coorporations that buy all the good seats. The public cant afford them but who cares as long as these spoiled brats walk away twenty something year old millionaires. Its just Me Me Me. huh Cortland/?