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Why Ken Whisenhunt chose the Tennessee Titans

Ken Whisenhunt was a wanted man this January, pursued by both the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns before he decided to accept a coaching job with the Tennessee Titans.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the former Cardinals coach and Chargers offensive coordinator chose the Titans over the competition for a series of specific reasons:

  1. Whisenhunt built an immediate rapport with general manager Ruston Webster. As Rapoport was told, they're two Southerners who feel like they've known each other for years.
  1. The coach also appreciated the lack of hoopla surrounding the Titans job, an under-the-radar opening without the huge expectations of the Lions' gig. The Detroit role came with built-in pressure to rattle off double-digit-win seasons and make the playoffs immediately. Tennessee lined up as a place to more patiently build a team.
  1. The city of Nashville, planted in the low-key South, was a big pull. As former Titans coach Jeff Fisher used to say about Nashville, the only thing he had to worry about -- instead of rush-hour traffic -- was not hitting a deer on his way to work.
  1. All three teams floated similar money, Rapoport was told. While the Browns didn't make an official "offer," Cleveland let it be known that a deal could be worked out.
  1. New Titans owner Tommy Smith was aggressive in pursuing Whisenhunt, which impressed the coach. Detroit's ownership is typically more detached. Smith made it a point to promise Whisenhunt that the club would do whatever required to be successful. In turn, Whiz and Smith clicked right away.
  1. Detroit's looming salary-cap issues also played a role. With three players -- Ndamukong Suh, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson -- swallowing up such a large percentage of the payroll, building a deeper team would take considerable work with the Lions.

We previewed Championship Sunday and sat down with Rams star Robert Quinn in the latest "Around The League Podcast."

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