Check out this 16-minute radio interview with Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker. During the Midday 180, the radio hosts asked him about certain issues that plagued the 2013-14 team. Walker didn’t mention any names but he claimed that there were 6-7 players who were a “cancer” and didn’t show up to play for Mike Munchak.
Six to seven players? That’s an interesting observation. What does that mean? Is that seventh player a cancer or more like a canker sore that, while not cancerous, is a lingering issue that won’t go away? What made these players so cancerous? Walker talked about how these players weren’t interested in the competitiveness of the team. Their primary focus wasn’t on winning games.
It doesn’t sound like a major issue—at least until one recognizes that 6-7 players equates to more than 10 percent of the roster. And if they’re players who receive a significant amount of playing time? Big issue.
This isn’t the first time that Walker has diagnosed a cancer on this team. After the Jacksonville Jaguars loss, Walker claimed:
Quick week. Everybody better be ready for practice tomorrow. I don’t want to hear no one talking. You better be ready to play or people are getting called out. I think it’s about that time to start calling people out. Who really wants to be here? If they don’t want to be here, go tell the coaches, get up on out of here, we don’t need you, you’re holding us down.
We’ve got to find that cancer because it’s slowing us down. We’re going to have to find out.
So…who are the cancers? Those are answers that Walker, Bernard Pollard, and probably some other players know. The two names who I see always getting brought up: Kenny Britt and Chris Johnson. Johnson is a unique example because while some of his comments make him appear self-centered, one mustn’t neglect that he played through Week 4-17 with a torn meniscus in his knee. Why play through that pain and risk further injury if he didn’t care about the team’s well-being?
The other four or five? Anyone’s guess. Justin Hunter and Damian Williams were inactivated before a Week 15 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals because of rules violations. Zach Brown was benched during that game. These don’t sound bad but maybe there’s more than meets the eye.
Whatever these problems are, they’re well-hidden from the public view. Your guesses are as good as mine. Britt is the only one who I’d feel confident about on that list. He’s a free agent this offseason—a free agent who almost certainly won’t return.