Lockout Over; Titans Gates Wide Open

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --Jake Locker sure knows how to impress his bosses and his teammates.

The Tennessee rookie was the first player into the building Tuesday when the Titans took off the chain and threw open the front gate. He quickly was followed by about 20 teammates within the first 90 minutes as the NFL got back to work Tuesday after an agreement was reached ending the league's lockout.

Locker stayed busy with his new, thick playbook and didn't talk to reporters. Left tackle Michael Roos summed up the mood.

"It is nice to drive by and not have the lock on the gate and actually get a friendly smile when you come in here," Roos said.

Locker was the eighth pick overall in April, and fellow quarterbacks Rusty Smith and Brett Ratliff were quick to join Locker at the team's facility. Within the first hour, right tackle David Stewart, right guard and player representative Jake Scott also drove into the parking lot and headed into work out, meet coaches and grab new playbooks.

But the new quarterback's attitude and work ethic made a quick impression on teammates.

"Coming from him, it's not an act in any way," Roos said. "It's who he is. He genuinely wants to be the best he can be."

The Titans announced in January they will trade or release Vince Young, the No. 3 pick overall in 2006. With the new labor deal, that move is expected once teams start releasing veterans Thursday afternoon. With Kerry Collins' retirement on July 7, the Titans also are looking for a veteran quarterback to compete with Locker.

Neither general manager Mike Reinfeldt nor new coach Mike Munchak were available to talk to reporters Tuesday. Reinfeldt has little time to sign nine draft picks, including Locker, find that veteran quarterback, keep some of their own free agents and possibly add a veteran defensive tackle, linebacker and safety while signing enough undrafted rookies to fill out the roster.

Matt Hasselbeck is top prospect for Reinfeldt, who knows him well from Seattle. Hasselbeck's agent, David Dunn, did not immediately respond to text messages from The Associated Press on Tuesday afternoon.

Roos doesn't know Hasselbeck, though he had invited the quarterback to his charity event in Washington last year.

"It's up to them upstairs to decide, and if they don't, depending on how everything goes in practice if Jake's the guy, then he'll be the guy and that's who we protect," Roos said. " So I'm sure they'll want someone in here for a little while to tutor him, coaching. But it remains to be seen. The next couple days are going to be really busy."

Munchak is reworking his schedule before training camp opens Friday to adjust to all the changes just approved in the league's new labor deal. The team did announce that about 3,000 single-game tickets will go on sale Aug. 8, the same week as Tennessee's exhibition opener Aug. 13 against Minnesota.

Tight end Jared Cook was just happy to be back working with what he calls a new start.

"It feels like it's been a weight off the shoulders of everybody and just a chance to come back and finally get back to work. Being unemployed isn't fun at all. Just getting a chance to get back is just like a sigh of relief," Cook said.

With the deal being approved by players Monday afternoon, not all Titans reached Nashville when the doors opened. Rookie defensive tackle Zach Clayton, a seventh-round pick from Auburn, arrived bright and early. Linebacker Colin McCarthy, a fourth-round pick from Miami, flew into Nashville on Tuesday and headed straight to work to check in. Linebacker Akeem Ayers, the second-round pick from UCLA, also was flying in.

Players took note of several changes to the team headquarters, which opened in August 1999. The Titans have spiffed up the players' lounge, ripped out the seating in the auditorium where team meetings are held and even taken down old players' photos. Punter Brett Kern said those are being reframed to look nicer.

Outside, tractor-trailers delivered supplies for training camp. Workers erected a tent to sell merchandise within an hour, while others started putting up the temporary fencing used around the practice fields during camp.

"Am I happy that everything seems like it's going to start on time?" linebacker Gerald McRath said. "I'm really happy."

NOTES: The Titans agreed to terms with 14 undrafted rookies Tuesday including Tennessee Vols punter Chad Cunningham, Vanderbilt linebacker and long snapper John Stokes and five receivers including Orentha Murdock of Fort Hayes State, who played in the East-West Shrine game and was at the NFL Combine only to go undrafted. Murdock also ran junior Olympic track.

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