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Young doing damage control, trying to shift focus to football

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Vince Young has done lots of talking in recent weeks about wanting to play elsewhere if he isn't starting for Tennessee this season and what really happened last year when police were called to search for the missing quarterback.

On Wednesday, he found himself busy with some damage control.

"Every time I say something it is always going to get blown out of proportion, so I just have to live with it. That is the life of Vince, and I just got to live with it," Young said.

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The NFL's 2006 Offensive Rookie of the Year lost his starting job after getting hurt in the Titans' season opener of 2008. He sprained his knee, and coach Jeff Fisher handed the job to Kerry Collins as the Titans went an NFL-best 13-3. Collins was signed to a two-year deal in March that kept him as the starter.

Young told reporters locally he was focusing on football, leaving the business to his agent.

Then Young started talking.

He told a Baltimore TV station on May 30 that it's time to play for somebody else if the Titans didn't want him. His agent quickly tried to downplay the comments, saying Young did not want to be traded.

Then Young discussed his side of what happened last September in an ESPN interview that aired last Sunday. That included his embarrassment at having to talk with a psychiatrist at the Titans' headquarters after a bizarre sequence that had the team ask police for help finding Young.

Police found an unloaded gun in his car, and Young always has denied he thought of suicide.

He told reporters three days after that incident that his mother overreacted, worried about his emotional state because of a sprained knee and boos from home fans in the Titans' season opener.

He also told ESPN he thought about quitting.

"I was that hurt from the boos and all the different things that were going on. It was just so much for me -- I didn't want to play no more," he told ESPN.

Young denied Wednesday that he ever thought about quitting, saying he used a TV timeout during the season opener to clear his mind before stepping back on the field. He had been booed after being intercepted for the second time in the win over Jacksonville, and Fisher had to turn and talk with his quarterback before Young joined his teammates on the field.

The quarterback sprained his knee a couple plays later, and he said it was "one short moment I felt like that" before he cleared his head. He credited talks with Fisher, peers, his pastor, friend Steve McNair and athletes like Kobe Bryant for helping him deal with the situation better.

"I can't feed into what the fans think ...," Young said. "I never thought about quitting. I just have to worry about being a leader for my teammates. I can't worry about the fans and how they feel about me any more. I just have to play my ball right now.

"I really just needed to get it off my chest so we can get it out of the way. Everybody has their opinion of the situation. They never heard it come out of my mouth," he said of why he felt the need to talk.

Keith Bulluck chat

In a chat on, Tennessee  Titans LB Keith Bulluck addressed the Vince Young situation, saying, "He's working hard to win back his starting spot." Chat transcript ...

Young is under contract for three more seasons but is due to count $14 million against the salary cap in 2010. Young denied he said he wanted to be traded. But he also left open the chance for a move if the Titans decide to go on without him, saying he would want to be somewhere else then because it would be mutual.

The recent headlines and TV scrolls involving Young haven't bothered his teammates or Fisher. The coach said he understands the frustration of every backup who would rather be starting.

"We talked, and I think he understands what's important. ... What's important is that he understands his role here," Fisher said.

Linebacker Keith Bulluck said he still respects Young as a teammate and a friend.

"It's the middle of the summer, and I guess stories need to be reported on," Bulluck said.

Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said Young could be starting for a lot of teams right now.

"But Kerry had a great year last year. The situation is what it is right now. But selfishly, it's a good situation for the team to have two really good quarterbacks," he said.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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