Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said Vince Young needs season-ending surgery on his throwing hand, not that being healthy would have kept the quarterback in the Titans’ starting lineup.
The team is placing the quarterback on injured reserve within the next couple days, but after Young’s latest meltdown, Fisher said Young wouldn’t have started Sunday against Houston anyway.
Young saw a hand specialist Monday, and Fisher said team doctors recommended the surgery to repair Young’s torn flexor tendon in his right thumb. Young suffered the injury late in the third quarter of Sunday’s 19-16 overtime loss to Washington.
Fisher also said he didn’t know — and didn’t sound as though he cared — if Young will get an outside opinion.
”He may want to get a second opinion. He may want to get two dozen opinions. Our doctor said for his position, it needs to be fixed,” Fisher said.
Rusty Smith replaced Young in the game, and Fisher said again Monday the rookie would be the starter against Houston on Sunday. Smith is a sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic, and the Titans are bringing in Chris Simms to back up Smith with Kerry Collins needing a couple more weeks to heal his strained left calf.
Fisher said even if Young were healthy enough to play, he would not start this Sunday due to his behavior after the game when he tossed his pads into the stands. A security guard retrieved the shoulder pads. Young had a heated exchange with Fisher in the locker room following the loss, then bolted the stadium.
The Tennessean reported Monday owner Bud Adams had talked to Fisher and Young and told them to ”get this thing settled” and work together. Adams said Young told him he wanted to return to the game, and the 87-year-old isn’t going to release the No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 draft.
”Oh, God yeah. He is under contract. I wouldn’t want to let him go We are going to pay him a lot of money,” Adams told he newspaper of Young, due to receive $8.5 million in 2011.
Adams said his coach is under contract too. ”That is why you have contracts,” the owner said.
Though both Fisher and Young are under contract, it is clear they are not on the same page.
Fisher, in his 16th season, is the longest tenured coach in the NFL and has a no-nonsense reputation. But Young is the player Adams essentially watched grow up in Houston, where the owner stayed when his team relocated to Nashville. Adams declared after grabbing Young in the 2006 draft that ”VY is my guy.”
Fisher, whose contract also runs through 2011, said team officials discussed Young’s injury and the need for surgery in a conference call with Adams and the owner is aware the quarterback is being placed on injured reserve.
But Fisher has not talked to the fifth-year veteran since Young stormed out of the stadium, and the coach said his focus isn’t on Young.
”My focus is on this football team. He’s not going to play anymore games for us this year because of the injury. We can deal with all that when the season is over,” Fisher said of trying to repair the relationship with Young.
That may not be possible.
Young has tweeted and told others, including Adams, that he just wanted to play. But Fisher said Young did not tell him, the offensive coordinator or the quarterbacks coach that he felt he could return. Fisher noted Young sailed one pass on the sideline as he tried to test his hand and gripping the football.
Asked if frustration had been building up between he and Young, Fisher said there was none whatsoever.
”All I’ve done here since Vince has walked through the door is try to help him be to the best player he can be and stood behind him and defended him from the get-go so there’s no frustration,” Fisher said.