Young eager in finale to show NFL he still can play


Vince Young is looking forward to playing in Tennessee's regular season finale Sunday at Indianapolis.

"It's definitely big for me," Young said Wednesday. "It's like a resume for me to go out there and show that I can still play football at this level, and that's basically it, to show to my teammates and my coaches as well."

Young lost the starting job when he sprained his left knee in the opening 17-10 win over Jacksonville, a game in which he was booed after his second interception. He was replaced by Kerry Collins, who now is 12-2 as a starter with the Titans enjoying the NFL's best record at 13-2.

Collins will start against Indianapolis (11-4), but Young is expected to play as the Titans try to protect their starters for the playoffs. It will be Young's second appearance in a game since the opener. He also mopped up in the fourth quarter of a 47-10 win at Detroit on Thanksgiving.

Young said it hasn't been hard sitting back even as a competitor. He's been busy watching Collins, learning the game and the business side of the NFL and trying to stay out of his teammates' way. Asked if he was looking for something good to carry into the offseason, he said definitely.

"Anytime you get a chance to get out there on the football team, not only showing your teammates, showing a lot of people around the league about your talent and things like that," Young said.

Has he been forgotten already?

"They know I can play...I'm just in the shadows right now. Get some time to get to myself to think and learn the game, learn the business. It's a lot of different things I'm learning right now about this whole situation," Young said.

The 2006 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year won't be going anywhere. He remains under contract for the next three years under the contract he signed after Tennessee made him the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. But Collins' success has the Titans wanting to bring back the veteran, who will be a free agent after this season.

They also are interested in Chris Simms, who has been working himself back into shape on the Tennessee roster.

It hasn't been easy on Young, whose activities on the sideline have been dissected almost as much as his play had been. Fans repeatedly call into radio talk shows asking why Young isn't huddling with Collins, offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger and Simms after each offensive series.

Young said he's always there and doesn't know where such talk comes from. He's also gotten advice from his mentor Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb and even Brett Favre.

Coincidentally or not, his chances to play have come on the road, not at home at LP Field. Young said he doesn't have the slightest idea how Titans' fans will respond the next time he takes the field.

"I've just got to go out and play my game and not worry about it," he said.

NOTES: Coach Jeff Fisher said Pro Bowl center Kevin Mawae (elbow) in all likelihood will be out for Sunday's game...DT Albert Haynesworth (knee) and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (groin) also will be out...RB LenDale White (illness) missed practice....Fisher said they gave DE Dave Ball (back), CB Nick Harper (groin) and LB David Thornton (hip) a day off for rest.

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