Titans introduce LB Witherspoon after he signs three-year contract

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Will Witherspoon says Tennessee Titans fans need not worry about his age or his production.

Witherspoon, who turns 30 in August, said he still has plenty of skills left as he joins his third team in the past year, agreeing with the Titans on a three-year, $11 million contract that was finalized Tuesday night.

"In eight years, the best thing about it, my only issue ever is that I had one minor scoping," Witherspoon said Wednesday. "In eight years, I've only missed four games.

"I feel like I've got a lot of good years left in me. If you had asked me eight years ago how long I thought I would play, I wouldn't know. But if you ask me the same question today, I feel like I've got plenty more left in the tank. I don't think people should be worried about me. If I get the choice, there's a good possibility I'd like to finish my career here."

The deal is the Titans' first signing since free agency began Friday, and the first toward revamping the linebacking corps.

Ten-year veteran Keith Bulluck is an unrestricted free agent who's coming off surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee suffered last December. Also, David Thornton recently had pectoral surgery and was bothered by shoulder and hip problems throughout the 2009 season. He has just one year left on his deal.

Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch was offered a one-year tender worth a first-round draft pick if another team tries to sign him. Gerald McRath also started five games in Thornton's place as a rookie.

Of Witherspoon, Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said: "He has been a quality starting linebacker in this league for a number of years and shown the ability to play all three spots. His final landing spot will be sorted out as the roster is formed, but I would expect him to be in the mix for us at outside linebacker."

Witherspoon was released last week by the Philadelphia Eagles, who would have owed him $5 million for the 2010 season. The Eagles acquired Witherspoon from the St. Louis Rams during the 2009 season.

"My release in Philly was kind of a surprise to everyone," Witherspoon said. "That just kind of came about, but the opportunity to come here arrived, and I said I definitely have to take a look at this."

Witherspoon, who had 92 tackles last season, not only fits a need for the Titans, he also has ties to the Nashville area. His father, Cordell, a retired military officer, was born in nearby Franklin, and Witherspoon still has uncles and cousins in the vicinity.

"And knowing the organization and knowing coach (Jeff) Fisher and (linebackers) coach (Dave) McGinnis and kind of getting a better idea of what's going on, all that kind of came into play," Witherspoon said. "I'm going to do my best to make sure everybody knows what I've brought to the table here."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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