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Climer: Tennessee Titans unlikely to drop Kenny Britt

10:00 AM, Jan 16, 2013   |    comments
Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt will cost the Titans just $1.34 million next season. / THE TENNESSEAN
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Commentary by David Climer, The Tennessean

All you self-appointed NFL hall monitors who want the Titans to distance themselves from Kenny Britt need to take a break.

It's not going to happen. Unless the New Jersey authorities, Roger Goodell or an orthopedic surgeon - or any combination of the above - intervene in the coming weeks, Britt will play for the Titans next season.

He has one year remaining on his contract with the Titans. His head coach is facing a make-good season that will determine his future.

The team needs playmakers.

It all adds up to Britt's return.

I know, I know. He's a trouble magnet. He has a problem with authority. He runs with a bad crowd. He's 24 going on 14.

Britt's latest brush with trouble is right out of the script: A friend was stabbed and Britt dropped him off at the hospital. Police believe a gunshot was fired when Britt was at an apartment or had just left, but that claim has been disputed.

Maybe it's all a misunderstanding. Or perhaps it's just another case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

But at some point, you have to wonder if trouble is following Kenny Britt or if Kenny Britt is following trouble.

Granted, Britt has not yet crossed over onto Pacman Jones' turf. But is it just a matter of time?

The incident in the New Jersey is the most recent of nine run-ins with the law since Britt became a Titan. Best I can tell, he leads the team in handshakes with the NFL commissioner - once when he was drafted in the first round in 2009, the others before and after a meeting with Goodell last summer.

Goodell later suspended Britt for the 2012 season opener as punishment for his continued brushes with the law. Depending on what happens over the next few days, Britt might have a return engagement at the commissioner's office, which is never a good thing.

So much for Britt's vow to use the offseason as a time to put his knee problems behind him. I'm not sure how much rehab is getting done when you're hanging out in New Jersey with the fellas.

For now, Britt remains one of those players who looks the part and shows flashes of extraordinary ability but can't sustain it. Certainly, injuries have held him back. But there is a perception that he has never fully committed himself to the game. It's as if he is waiting for his physical gifts to kick in and make him an all-pro.

Because of that, Britt is yet another of the Titans' first-round draft picks who has not played up to expectations. Dating to 2003, the Titans' only first-rounder who has made a major impact on the NFL is '08 pick Chris Johnson.

Michael Griffin, the Titans' first-round pick in '07, has started 91 of the last 92 games and made two Pro Bowls but is far from a dominant safety. Now that his knee issues are behind him, Derrick Morgan showed some encouraging signs at defensive end, but he still needs a breakout season. Two years in, the jury remains out on Jake Locker. Kendall Wright led the team in receptions as a rookie this season but must improve on his 9.8 yards per catch average.

And we'll table any discussions on Vince Young and Pacman.

Still, any suggestion that the Titans should cut and run from Britt is foolish. They invested the 30th pick of the '09 draft in him. He's still on his rookie contract, which means he will cost the Titans just $1.34 million next season.

Is he more trouble than he's worth? Frankly, yes. And in a perfect world, Mike Munchak would say enough is enough and cut his losses, bidding farewell to Britt.

But this just in: It's not a perfect world. It's the NFL.

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