Byner joins the Titans after spending the last four seasons as the running back coach for the Washington Redskins. In each of his four years in Washington, a Redskin running back registered at least 1,100 rushing yards. Pro Bowl running back Clinton Portis tallied 4,616 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns during Byner's tenure with the team. He also groomed Ladell Betts to fill in for an injured Portis in 2006, gaining 770 yards in the final six games of the season, the most ever by a Redskin over a six-game span in a single season.
"Earnest brings a lot of different experiences to this job and I think our running back group will benefit from his expertise," said Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. "Mike (Heimerdinger) and I met with Earnest on several different occasions and there was a great comfort level between us and I expect him to fit well with our offensive staff."
Byner brings 24 years of NFL experience to the Titans as a player, coach and front office executive. He was originally a 10th round selection in the 1984 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played for the Browns (1984-88, 94-95), Redskins (1989-93) and Baltimore Ravens (1996-97) and finished with 8,261 career rushing yards and 56 touchdowns. At the time of his retirement, his career yardage total ranked 16th in NFL history. After leaving the game as a player, he joined the Ravens front office in 1998 as the team's director of player development, also aiding the personnel and coaching departments. He left Baltimore in 2004 to join the Redskins as their running back coach.
Byner replaces Sherman Smith, who left to be the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins.
EARNEST BYNER PRESS CONFERENCE
Jeff Fisher: At this time I would like to formally introduce Earnest Byner as our new running backs coach. Earnest's playing career speaks for itself, the years in the league and after retiring. He stayed in the National Football League and did a number of things. Specifically, he worked with player programs in Baltimore and also coached while he was doing player programs and then became a full-time coach. He was most recently with the Washington Redskins. Coach [Mike] Heimerdinger and I spent quite a bit of time at the combine with Earnest. I just wanted to give you guys an opportunity to meet him and answer a couple of questions.
(on his thoughts about working with the Titans running backs)
Earnest Byner:* Looking forward to it. LenDale [White] and Chris[Henry], two young backs that both came out as second round picks. They have some potential and I'm looking forward to it. I'm sure Sherm [Sherman Smith] did a good job with training them early on. I'm looking forward to stepping in. We have a veteran staff and I've heard a lot of good things about Jeff and how things are run here. So I am definitely looking forward to the opportunity.
(on speaking with LenDale White and Chris Henry)
Earnest Byner: *I called and spoke with LenDale on the phone. I called and left Chris a message. 'Chris, if your out there, need to hear from you.' (laughs). I just spoke with him [LenDale] briefly and am looking forward to spending some time with them.
(on watching tapes of Lendale White and what he needs to improve on)
Earnest Byner:* Some of its going to depend on what Lendale wants to improve on. I've watched him; I like some of the vision he has, some yards after contact, protects the ball good when he gets in the pile. I like what I have seen. I'd like to talk to LenDale and find out what some of his goals are and see how I can best assist him in that process.
(on how Earnest approaches coaching running backs)
Earnest Byner: *No question you definitely got to get to know the guys. They don't care what you know unless they know that you care. I want them to know that I care about them personally, first and foremost, and want the very best for them. But I also want the best for them on the football field as well. I'm looking forward to getting to know these guys and spending some additional time with them, not just during football but off the field as well.
(on working for a team from the old AFC Central)
Earnest Byner: Well, I'll just give you a quick story. Last year when we played them (Titans) in the preseason, Chuck Cecil reminded me that he knocked me out when he was with the Oilers. The reality is that there were some rivalries back then, but now there are some good rivalries within the division and I'm looking forward to going forward and being a part of this.
(on comparing Earnest's playing and coaching style)
Jeff Fisher: There is a carryover from the attitude that he brought on the field to the way he coaches; very aggressive, very tough. A number of people around the league during this process called to recommend, on their own not because Earnest told them to call me, there were a lot of compliments to go around based on the way he played and how he's carried that over into his coaching career.
(on the possibility of signing or drafting a dynamic third down back)
Jeff Fisher: We're hopeful there. There are some limitations, as we speak, in free agency but we are hopeful. There are a number of backs that are coming out in this year's draft that can certainly do that and who knows, we may have that guy in Chris Henry. That's part of what Earnest is going to set out to do this offseason to develop Chris because he has the quickness and the breakaway speed.
(on Chris Henry's instincts as a running back)
Ernest Byner: **First and foremost, a lot of the stuff that a runner has is natural. Chris has some great athletic ability. One thing that I would like to try to find out is what is he looking at when the different plays are called. So again, that's getting to know Chris and trying to find out what he knows about football, and then being able to offer some assistance in that regard. We have something in Chris that we can definitely develop and work with.