Preseason schedule includes Titans return to prime time TV

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 4:00pm

The Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals recently were thrust into the national spotlight when they emerged as contenders for free agent quarterback Peyton Manning.

Neither got him, but they will get to show a national television audience how their respective teams look when they meet in the third week of the preseason at LP Field.

The Thursday night game, Aug. 23, will be carried live by ESPN and will be the first prime-time nationally televised Titans game since Dec. 9, 2010, a Thursday night game against Indianapolis. Tennessee was not included in any of the NFL’s prime-time television packages last season and its four preseason contests were carried by a local television outlet.

ESPN will carry four preseason games beginning Aug. 9 with Green Bay against San Diego. The Tennessee-Arizona contest will be the last of those four.

The game with the Cardinals, the first of two at LP Field, was the only one for which a specific time and date was set when the 2012 preseason schedule was released Wednesday afternoon.

For the second straight season, the Titans will play only NFC teams in the preseason capped by a visit from the New Orleans Saints the weekend of Aug. 29-31. It will be the third straight year Tennessee and New Orleans have completed their preparation against one another.

The Titans won each of the last two, including 32-9 last season at New Orleans. Tennessee and Arizona last met in the preseason in 2010 — a 24-10 Titans’ victory at LP Field.

The preseason opens Aug. 9-13 with a game at Seattle in what will be a homecoming for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who spent 10 seasons with the Seahawks before he signed as a free agent with Tennessee last August.

The second game will be Aug. 16-20 at Tampa Bay.

Final dates and times will be set over the next month. The regular season schedule will be released some time in April.