Cold in tent, Titans see respect still a win away

Hakim guarantee brushed off

McNair moving better

AFC notebook

January 28, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA -- Motivated by a perceived lack of respect, the Tennessee Titans continue to do a slow burn this week.

"It's like pouring gasoline onto the fire," said defensive end Josh Evans.

Evans was upset that the Titans were forced to participate in Wednesday's Super Bowl media session in an unheated tent.

"People still are not respecting us, so there is an extra motivation to go out and play hard," he said. "Until we win, people are not going to respect us. I think after three wins against Jacksonville, and after beating St. Louis, we beat all the top teams in the NFL, people still don't have their eyes open.

"But after Sunday, they will."

The Titans did not respond in a big way to the victory guarantee issued by St. Louis receiver Az-Zahir Hakim on Wednesday, though.

"That's unbelievable," said Titans linebacker Barron Wortham, "but you have to appreciate his confidence. We won't get caught up in that. We don't get into trash talk."

McNair improving

Nursing an aching left big toe, Titans quarterback Steve McNair took increased reps in practice yesterday, and coach Jeff Fisher pronounced him further along this week than last.

Last week, after wearing a special boot on his left foot for a condition called turf toe, McNair ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-14 win over Jacksonville.

"It's getting better every day," McNair said.

McNair took an estimated 80 percent of the offensive snaps yesterday, and did not appear to have any mobility problems.

He skipped the team's opening two-minute drill, though, because of superstition. Neil O'Donnell ran the two-minute offense.

Said Fisher: "[Steve] has not done it in eight weeks and we've continued to win."

No lame duck

Titans owner Bud Adams wants to extend Fisher's contract, but not at the expense of distracting him from Sunday's game.

"I'd like to sign him tomorrow to extend his contract," Adams said. "[But] I don't think it was the proper time to have discussions now during this week. He has one more year left on his contract. We'll make some time to talk about it."

No travel plans

Titans right tackle Jon Runyan, a free agent after the Super Bowl, doesn't sound eager to leave Nashville.

"I've love to be here [with the Titans]," he said. "The coaching staff is great. I love being around the guys. I don't really want to change anything up."

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