NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Titans decided Saturday to keep rookie Rusty Smith over veteran Chris Simms as the third quarterback behind Vince Young and Kerry Collins.
They also released safety Myron Rolle, a Rhodes scholar who took a year off from football to study at Oxford.
The Titans confirmed that they had released 20 players and placed veteran linebacker David Thornton on the reserve/physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from hip surgery. Linebacker Gerald McRath also goes on the reserve/suspended list for the first four games.
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Simms was cut on the day his younger brother, Matt, started for the University of Tennessee three hours east. Simms signed with the Titans in April, returning to the team he spent 2008 with while building back his strength before signing with Denver for 2009 and starting one game with the Broncos. He was a third-round pick in 2003 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and is 7-9 as a starter in his NFL career.
The Titans used a sixth-round pick to take Smith out of Florida Atlantic, and the coaches love his footwork and strong arm. Smith will have time to develop behind Young and Collins, who is entering his 16th NFL season.
They kept undrafted rookie running back LeGarrette Blount, while releasing veteran Samkon Gado. Defensive end Raheem Brock also was cut. He was signed during training camp after visiting with the Houston Texans, but starter William Hayes is expected to be recovered from his sprained right knee in time for the Sept. 12 season opener against the Oakland Raiders.
The Tennessean and TitanInsider.com first reported the cuts.
The Titans also waived veteran cornerback Tye Hill, signed March 30 to add experience to a secondary shredded by opposing quarterbacks last season. Hill is a former first-round pick with 24 starts and five interceptions in his four-year career. He spent much of the preseason injured.
D-Day for Fringe
Also released were defensive ends Eric Bakhtiari and Chris Harrington; fullback Jed Collins; wide receivers Paul Williams and Dominique Edison; defensive tackles David Howard and Joe Joseph; offensive tackles Michael Toudouze and Nevin McCaskill; running back Alvin Pearman; tight ends Steven Pfahler and Sean Ryan; and linebacker Patrick Trahan.
Rolle is another possibility for the practice squad if he decides he wants to keep playing football before going back to school to become a neurosurgeon.
The Titans' roster likely will change in the next couple days as team officials scan the waiver wire. They have just four cornerbacks right now and need more depth there and at linebacker.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press