Locker No. 1
Beats Hasselbeck for Titans’ starting QB job
The Tennessee Titans aren’t waiting any longer: Jake Locker is their starting quarterback.
Titans coach Mike Munchak said Monday that Locker will start this season over veteran Matt Hasselbeck, choosing to go with the passer Tennessee hopes to build around after drafting Locker out of Washington in April 2011.
Munchak announced the decision after practice, saying Locker gives the Titans their best chance to win the AFC South as their quarterback this season and hopefully for many seasons to come.
“By no means has this job been given to him,” Munchak said. “He’s earned it.”
The eighth pick overall in 2011 out of the University of Washington, Locker will play 40 to 50 snaps Thursday night against Arizona with three weeks to prep for the opener Sept. 9 against New England.
“It’s really cool,” Locker said of the decision. “It’s something I’m proud of, but it’s not going to change my approach on how I practice or my preparation for a game. That will still all be the same, but it is cool to be given this opportunity.”
Munchak said giving Hasselbeck the news was a tough conversation. Munchak helped talk the veteran into signing a three-year deal with the Titans last July after the NFL lockout ended, and Hasselbeck turned in the fourth-best season in yards passing in franchise history. Only Hall of Famer Warren Moon threw for more.
Hasselbeck also helped Munchak go 9-7 in his debut season as head coach, just missing a playoff berth on a tiebreaker.
The veteran said he’s been in Locker’s shoes and knows it’s an exciting move for the young quarterback.
“I had the chance to help lead a franchise and help build a program, and I had a chance to be the guy under center, and he’s got that chance right now,” Hasselbeck said. “As hard as it was, Munch made his decision, and as hard as it was for me to hear that, I’m also excited for Jake. I’ll help and support him any way I can, and be happy to do it.”
Tannehill will start
Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has won the Miami Dolphins’ starting job.
Coach Joe Philbin announced that Tannehill will start the Dolphins’ opener Sept. 9 at Houston.
Tannehill beat out Matt Moore, who finished last year as Miami’s starter, and David Garrard.
Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant will be treated for tendinitis in his right knee after an MRI revealed no tear to a ligament or tendon.
Bryant injured his knee during a joint practice with the San Diego Chargers.
The Cowboys say Bryant will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. No timetable has been set for his return to practice.
Young has edge
Vince Young has the inside track to win the Buffalo Bills’ backup quarterback job.
Bills coach Chan Gailey made the announcement. He says, Young performed well enough in the first two preseason games to warrant more work with the second-team offense.
Since signing with Buffalo in May, Young has been competing with returning backup Tyler Thigpen for the No. 2 job. The loser is expected to be cut, because the third-string job is going to receiver/wildcat specialist Brad Smith.
No alcohol or illegal drugs were found in Junior Seau’s system when he shot and killed himself at his home in May, authorities said.
The full autopsy results were released by the San Diego County medical examiner’s office in a 16-page report for the former NFL linebacker who was found by his girlfriend with a single gunshot wound to his chest.
Seau did have Zolpidem, often found in the sleeping aid Ambien, and traces of the anti-inflammatory drug naproxen in his system when he died that were “consistent with therapeutic use,” wrote Deputy Medical Examiner Craig Nelson.
Around the league
The Buffalo Bills cut linebacker Shawne Merriman. He had season-ending surgery in November to repair a partially torn right Achilles tendon. It’s an injury that had nagged him for much of the previous two seasons with Buffalo. … The NFL has suspended Kansas City All-Pro linebacker Tamba Hali for the season-opener against Atlanta for violating its policy on substance abuse. No details were disclosed. … A person familiar with the situation says the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to play multiple home games in London beginning in 2013.
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