Anthony Fasano Brings Experience, Veteran Leadership to Titans

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- When free agent tight end Anthony Fasano visited Saint Thomas Sports Park last month, he knew he and the coaches were speaking the same language.

"I'd always heard great things about Coach Whisenhunt and (tight ends coach) Mike Mularkey," he said. "I went and took a visit, and I just felt great energy."

It's no mystery why Fasano clicked with the coaching staff. Whisenhunt and Mularkey are both former NFL tight ends. With a shared position, Fasano says, comes a shared approach to the game.

"I think we'll be able to see a lot of the same things and communicate the same way," he said. "But setting aside position, I just think they're great football minds. I've heard great things from guys who have played for them in the past, and I'm looking forward to getting to know them and working for them."

Titans Online looks at the career of new Titans TE Anthony Fasano, a nine-year veteran who has spent time with the Cowboys, Dolphins and Chiefs. (AP Photos)

The 31-year-old Fasano inked a two-year contract with the Titans on March 13, making Tennessee the fourth team of his nine-year NFL career. He was originally drafted by the Cowboys in the second round (53rd overall) in 2006.

"I was a young player in Dallas and learned a tremendous amount from Jason Witten," he said. "He's a great player, a Hall of Fame type player. I was actually on a team with a ton of great players, so there weren't a lot of balls coming my way."

But that all changed in Miami. Traded to the Dolphins in 2008, he quickly became a staple in then-head coach Tony Sparano's offense. In five seasons with Miami, the New Jersey native averaged 421 yards and 35 receptions per season.

"I kind of established Miami to be my home," he said. "I lived here, put down some roots."

While he saw the ball a lot for the Dolphins, Fasano isn't regarded to be a huge receiving threat. His biggest strength lies in his ability to assist the run game. In 2006, he was part of a blocking unit that helped Cowboys running back Julius Jones rush for over 1,000 yards.

"With the systems I've been in, usually when I have the better years and teams have the better years is when we're able to run the ball and run the ball well," he said. "I take pride in trying to help out in that facet of the game. I think it's kind of lost in the tight end position currently, and it's a big asset."

A nagging bone bruise in Fasano's knee Fasano limited his production the last two seasons in Kansas City, but the Notre Dame alum says he's feeling great heading into this year's offseason program.

"The second half of the season was definitely not where I wanted to be health-wise and kind of held me back from being able to play in my role there," he said. "Luckily it was nothing serious."

Fasano will certainly have his work cut out for him. With the return of Delanie Walker, Craig Stevens and Taylor Thompson, he joins a Titans team already heavy with tight end talent. But Fasano says he sees this depth as an advantage.

"I've seen teams with five or six tight ends on the roster in camp then a couple weeks into the season they're low on tight ends and need some," he said. "The position can change so fast. I think having good players all in the same room breeds competition and brings out the best in people."

And coming off a 2-14 season, the Titans will certainly need their best. But Fasano is no stranger to that scenario. The Dolphins were 1-15 the season before he was traded. In his first year with Miami, they went 11-5 and won the AFC East. The Chiefs won just two games in 2012 before Fasano signed. When he came to KC? Eleven wins and a playoff bid.

"I've been in this situation before," he said. "It doesn't scare me off."

Quite the opposite, in fact.

"I think we'll be able to shock a lot of people," he said. "I hope to be able to help get wins and get to the playoffs and make a run in the playoffs."

For now, though, Fasano plans to become an "integral part of the team" and to bring veteran leadership to the offense. If you love the game, he said, it'll show on the field.

"It's easy to be a leader when things are going well, but when things start getting tough, that's where leadership is tested," he said. "I look forward to getting up there with my new team and working."

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