One of Jevon Kearse’s former Tennessee Titans teammates said he would welcome back his former defensive line mate, if Kearse and the Titans can agree to a deal.
“I think it would be good if they brought Jevon in,” said defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. “We need to get somebody in here to replace the people we’ve lost.”
The Titans began their search Wednesday to replace Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy, who agreed to free-agent deals with Cincinnati and Arizona on Monday. Odom and LaBoy combined for 14 sacks for the Titans last season opposite Haynesworth and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.
In addition to Kearse, the Titans are entertaining Indianapolis Colts free agent defensive end Josh Thomas and will play host to veteran Ellis Wyms, who has spent time with Tampa Bay and Seattle, on Thursday.
Kearse, 31, was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1999 with the Titans. He recorded 14.5 sacks that season and helped the franchise make its only Super Bowl appearance. He also was selected to three Pro Bowls as a Titan.
Haynesworth and Kearse were teammates for two seasons from 2002-03. Kearse, nicknamed “The Freak,” then departed after the ’03 season in free agency for the Philadelphia Eagles, where he signed a $66 million package. However, he was released last week by the Eagles as a salary cap cut.
The Titans had their own salary cap issues when Kearse was allowed to leave in free agency in the spring of 2004. That, combined with some concerns about his durability, led the Titans to allow him to walk in free agency where he quickly landed with the Eagles.
Kearse, who suffered a foot injury in Tennessee in 2002, had his career wracked by injuries with the Eagles as well. He suffered a knee injury in 2006 and by 2007 had lost his starting job in Philadelphia to his former backup Juqua Thomas.
Kearse is also drawing interest from the Minnesota Vikings as well.
During his career in Tennessee, Kearse had 47.5 sacks in five seasons, compared to just 22 sacks in four years with the Eagles.
As for Haynesworth’s own situation, the defensive tackle who was franchised on Feb. 20 to keep him in Tennessee said nothing new has gone on in regards to talks about a long-term deal.
“I guess I’m kind of a backburner issue right now while they try to get some other guys in here,” said Haynesworth, who has not yet signed the franchise tender of more than $7.5 million.