Keith Bulluck is one of a handful of Tennessee Titans who know about the experience of playing on Monday Night Football.
This Monday night when the Titans travel to New Orleans to face the Saints, Bulluck is eager to reacquaint himself and the Titans to a primetime audience, something the team has not experienced since Dec. 13, 2004 in a loss to Kansas City.
“You don’t forget those times. It’s been a while. I definitely remember. I think America wants to see me,” said Bulluck with a smile.
Bulluck offered a quick review of his primetime resumé when asked about whether he had played on Monday Night Football.
“Oh, man, I’m Mr. Monday Night Football. You’d better check your history. All I do is make plays on Monday night. My rookie year … Monday night on Christmas Eve, I scored my first touchdown [against Dallas]. Like I said, I’m Mr. Monday Night. Expect to see something spectacular.”
Just reaching a primetime game is the spectacular part for many Titans players, who will be experiencing that atmosphere for the first time in their careers. While most of the players are younger, defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, now in his seventh NFL season, is also making his first Monday night appearance.
“It’s completely different,” Vanden Bosch said. “Night games have a complete different atmosphere altogether, but Monday night is a whole new world. I’m excited, especially Monday night for their home opener in New Orleans. I think there’s really going to be a lot of emotion out there, and the crowd is really going to be into it.”
Vanden Bosch sees the game as a opportunity for the rebuilt Titans to showcase themselves before the football fans of the nation.
“Last year, we finished strong, but it was still kind of quiet. Not a lot of people knew about us. We didn’t have any big prime time games,” Vanden Bosch said. “This is a chance for us to showcase what we’ve got and really show not just other teams, but fans around the country just how good we are.”
Receiver Eric Moulds, who played in many a Monday night game with the Buffalo Bills, said his best advice to his young teammates is to cherish the opportunity.
“It’s a special opportunity for them, because you know what? You don’t get to play Monday Night Football games very often,” Moulds said. “And the chances that you do get to play those games, you’ve got to take advantage of them.”
One Titan who plans to take full advantage of his first primetime game is defensive end Antwan Odom, who will also celebrate his 26th birthday that night and with 25 tickets for friends and relatives who will make the two-and-a-half hour drive from his hometown of Bayou La Batre, Ala.
“It’s going to be a party,” Odom said. “When the schedule game out, I saw it and said, ‘Oh, my birthday and Monday night.’ I think a lot of people are going to be nervous. They’ve never been around anything like this. The environment is going to be electrifying, being in New Orleans on Monday night. Some guys will probably get a few jitters, but they’ll work it out.”
BUSH-WHITE REUNION: Monday night’s game will be the first time that former USC running backs LenDale White of the Titans and Reggie Bush of the Saints will get to play against each other as pros. White, who was suspended over a spitting incident when the Saints came to Nashville for a preseason game last year, remains close with his Southern Cal buddy and is eager to face him.
“It’s going to be a fun one,” White said. “I’ve been talking to him back and forth, just having fun with it. I’m excited to get out there and play against him. The last time he came here, I had to sit out. It’s going to be fun to get out there and play against him.”
Bush has become a media marketing star as the second pick in last year’s draft, while White has received much less fanfare with the Titans. That isn’t a problem, says White.
“It’s about the same as it was at USC. He always had the higher profile, but I’m happy with the position I’m at,” White said. “I play for the Tennessee Titans. We’re 1-1 and looking forward to a good year. I’m just looking forward to playing football and not really looking at who has a bigger profile. I hope I have a better game, though.”
INJURIES: Center Kevin Mawae (knee) and guard Benji Olson (illness) did not practice Wednesday as well as tight end Casey Cramer (hamstring). White (foot) and cornerback Cortland Finnegan (hamstring) did limited work.