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Titans OL Amano eschews free agency, signs five-year, $26.25M deal

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Veteran guard Eugene Amano signed a five-year, $26.25 million contract with the Tennessee Titans on Wednesday, keeping one of the more coveted potential free agents off the market.




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"Eugene has come in to his own as a starter for us on a talented line," Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said in a statement released by the team. "His signing gives us some flexibility moving forward in a couple of different areas, so it was good to get this done and feel good that the play this line has shown over the last couple of years will continue."

Amano now is signed through 2014, according to a league source. The new deal will pay Amano $12.515 million next season and $18.375 million over the first three years, the source said.

Amano will receive a signing bonus of $7.25 million, and $3.087 million of his $5.265 million salary for next season is guaranteed. He's scheduled to receive $2.68 million in 2011, $3.18 million in 2012, $3.685 million in 2013 and $4.187 million in 2014.

Keeping Amano was crucial to maintaining the Titans' offensive line, which is considered to be one of the NFL's best. Had Amano hit the open market, the Washington Redskins, who are badly in need of offensive line help, likely would have been among his suitors.

Amano, a seventh-round draft pick by the Titans in 2004, has started 41 games in his NFL career, including 31 in the last two years.

The Titans still must re-sign veteran center Kevin Mawae to keep their line intact. The team is interested in re-signing him before March 5, when he would become a free agent, but if Mawae is looking for more than what aging centers such as the Baltimore Ravens' Matt Birk and the Indianapolis Colts' Jeff Saturday received last year, he'll likely end up hitting the market.

Over the last two years, the Titans' offensive line has ranked second in the NFL in rushing yards (4,791) and is tied with the Colts for the fewest sacks allowed (27).

Last season, the Titans' offensive line paved the way for running back Chris Johnson to become just the sixth player in NFL history to gain 2,000 yards in one season. Additionally, the Titans became the first NFL team to allow 15 or fewer sacks and average more than 5 yards per carry.

The Titans also announced Wednesday that offensive lineman Mike Otto and linebacker Colin Allred agreed to terms on exclusive rights contracts. Both players are backups.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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