Veteran wisdom

Monday, July 5, 2010 at 11:45pm
Alge-Crumpler.jpg

Bo Scaife was older than most of the other players drafted in 2005. That’s not necessarily a good thing.

He spent six years at the University of Texas, in part because of health issues that followed him into the draft. At 24 years old, he lasted until the sixth round, where the Titans ultimately took him with the 179th overall selection.

Suddenly, the six-year veteran is the oldest player in the Titans’ tight end meeting room. Now, age makes Scaife, who led the team in receptions two years ago, more valuable.

“I don’t go in that meeting room, but I know [tight ends coach] John [Zernhelt] told him, ‘You have to be our leader now, and you’re one of the leaders of this team,’ ” offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger said. “We’ll see who steps up here with the older guys gone, but he needs to take a role. There’s a bunch of guys here who need to take a role.”

Alge Crumpler unquestionably was the voice of experiences among Tennessee’s tight ends in 2009. He was 32 years old for most of the season and had played more NFL games than the rest of his teammates at that position combined.

When Crumpler signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots early this offseason, it left Scaife, now 29, the senior member of that position group. Behind him are Jared Cook, 23, and Craig Stevens, 25, as well as a pair of free agent rookies.

Scaife is one of four players drafted in 2005 who is still with the team. Only two chosen prior to that year (Eugene Amano in 2004 and Donnie Nickey in 2003) are on the roster. Only eight players overall are 30 years or older.

“I’m a vet, so I pretty much know what to expect and what’s going on,” Scaife said. “I think I have [become a leader on the team]. I’ve always kind of led in my own little way, even when Alge was here. I’m vocal when I need to be and I know guys in the locker room respect me.”