ALGE CRUMPLER PRESS CONFERENCE, MARCH 3, 2008**
Mike Reinfeldt:I'd like to welcome everybody today. We're happy to announce that we've agreed to terms with four-time Pro Bowler Alge Crumpler. We're excited about it. We think he brings some things to our team that will help us – give us consistency, his productivity. We're excited about it and think it's a good day for us.
Jeff Fisher: I'd like to just to add this: I think throughout the league over the last few years, a great deal of awareness has been placed at the tight end position. As we attempted to make a playoff run, each and every team in the playoffs had a very, very productive tight end. Good tight ends are hard to find. It was an objective and a goal of ours at the start of the offseason to go ahead and upgrade this position. As they say, sometimes one person's loss is another person's gain. Well, for whatever the reasons, for Atlanta to create a situation where Alge became available, we figured that we would take advantage of it. We have and are very excited having spent some time with him just recently over the last few days. We met with him at the combine and know he's going to be a perfect fit for our offense. He's the type of player we're looking for at that position.
(on why Alge felt the Titans were a good fit)
Alge Crumpler: One, I am very close to David Thornton. I had a chance to talk with him and he said there are a great group of guys in the locker room. I had a chance to meet Coach Fisher. Having played here in this stadium, I feel like their fans and the community of Nashville really support the team. I was looking for everything that fits. I felt like being here would be a great opportunity to further advance my career.
(on the opportunity to play with Vince Young)
Alge Crumpler:I am very excited to play with a guy the caliber of Vince Young. He has done a wonderful job his two years here in Nashville. I feel like I can help do some things that can help advance his game. It is just about me coming in and fitting in with him being the leader of the offense of this ball club. I really feel like I know I can fit in and be a key part of this team on and off the field. I am really excited about the opportunity to work with Vince Young. I have admired him as a peer from across the league. I was itching to get a chance to play with him.
(on how much he thinks he can help the receivers and quarterback in the offense)
Alge Crumpler:I think more than anything it is about being a pro. It is about showing up for work and showing how you come in and attack things, just showing up everyday, studying and pulling the guys under your wing. It is going to take a while to find where I fit in, but in terms of working with guys and helping them with their game and being accessible and having a good understanding of what Coach Fisher and Dinger [Mike Heimerdinger] want from me, I think I have a great relationship there.
(on how his play can open up the game for the receivers)
Alge Crumpler: I certainly hope so. Vince [Young] creates a lot of attention and I have created a lot of attention throughout my career. I have been one of those guys that can take pressure off a lot of different guys. I'm excited that [Justin] Gage was able to resign here. He had a great year last year and has done some great things for this organization. To be able to come in and fit in with the guys that are here on a team that played exceptionally well last season, I'm excited.
(on whether offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger's return influenced the team's decision to upgrade at tight end)
Jeff Fisher: Not necessarily. You know, we were looking for more production. I think tight ends are catching on average over 80 balls a year since 2000, and a lot of that had to do with Mike. We wanted to get back to that. We did it a couple years ago – Ben and Bo each had 55 or something, but we wanted to get back to the consistency. What Alge allows us to do is he allows us to put him on the field and keep him on the field because he's the guy on the line of scrimmage that can block; he can stretch the field; he can get open; and he's an every-down player. I remember vividly preparing against him in match-ups against the Falcons, and he's someone that you had to concern yourself with.
(on his health and whether the knee injury bothered him last year )
Alge Crumpler: There were a lot of things that bothered me last year and my knee was not one of them. There are things that are put out there that I don't have any control over. What I control and concern myself with is how I show up to work everyday and being a pro. Having an opportunity to sit back and evaluate this whole process from the other side of the table, I was able to put myself in a position to pick a place and an organization that I felt could really use me and help me advance my career. I know the Nashville community is excited about their Titans football. I am proud these guys gave me the opportunity to be here and be a part of it.
(on talking with other teams and whether playing with Vince Young was the decision maker)
Alge Crumpler: It was close. Vince Young, with the way that he has played the last two years and having Dinger come back and have a chance to get with them and get the offense going. The core group of guys on the offensive line, that nasty line and the way those guys play, it fit my game. I felt like I needed to find a place that definitely fit my game.
(on the importance of getting out of Atlanta)
Alge Crumpler:It was time to move on. I had a great career there. I really did. I love the Atlanta community and spent a lot of time in that community. When an opportunity presents itself to move to a position that you think is going to better your career, I was all for it. My mom is definitely sad that I'm leaving. She lives in Charlotte, but we are looking at flight options to get her over here as fast as possible because she is excited to be joining the Titans organization. I have a lot of gear to buy, but I will be shipping it out pretty soon.
(on how much Crumpler will help in run-after-catch situations and in the red zone)
Jeff Fisher: Well, he has 35 touchdown catches, so he knows how to get open in the end zone. He knows how to get to the end zone. (*Crumpler:* And I like getting in the end zone.) That's been made very, very clear (laughing). And we like touchdowns, and so do they. But yeah, that's going to help us. It's his experience. He can make people miss. He can run over people. Like we said, he's a complete tight end.
(on whether he is healthy)
(on his surgeries)
Alge Crumpler: You have to look it up. I am pretty healthy and I'm pretty excited.
Jeff Fisher: He understands our injury policies very well as well.
(on exchanging jerseys with David Thornton after last season's game)
Alge Crumpler: We traded jerseys right after the game. It is framed, sweaty and stinky. You have to understand that I'm a Tarheel and David is a Tarheel. I'm sorry but we are going to be spreading that Tarheel love around here sometime soon.
(on going to David Thornton's house and seeing his jersey on the wall)
Alge Crumpler: I can't wait to give him a Titans jersey. That is what I'm more looking forward to.
(on if there is still a possibility of further addressing the tight end situation through the draft or free agency)
Mike Reinfeldt:Yeah, there's a possibility we'd do something like that, yes.
(on waiting for Crumpler to talk to other teams before he made a decision)
Mike Reinfeldt:Well, I think what happened – and we go through this every time – I think we were fortunate that Jeff and I got to meet with Alge at the combine, and I think we all came away with a good feeling. Then he came and visited with his wife here, and I think we walked away with that same good feeling. Plus, you talk to coaches, you talk to people that he played with, trainers, you talk to David Thornton, I think we got such a good feeling about him that he was a good fit, and I think it was a mutual-type thing. Even though you're sweating it out with the different teams, in the back of my mind I always thought it would happen.
(on Warrick Dunn)
Mike Reinfeldt:I don't think it's hit the waivers yet, so I could not comment on it until it officially hits.
(on the possibility of bringing in wide receivers)
Mike Reinfeldt:I think we still have some avenues. We've talked about getting more playmakers, that type of thing. As Jeff and I talked, we'll continue to do that. So there's different avenues to do that, whether it's bring in some free agents, the draft or through trades. But I think the process is still continuing.
(on the progress with Antwan Odom and the club's other free agents)
Mike Reinfeldt:No real progress. We're kind of monitoring, having conversations with them daily, kind of seeing where it goes.