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February 20, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Titans say health key to Locker’s future

Media availability at the NFL Combine is underway, and two who have already taken the stage here are new Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt and the team’s executive vice president and general manager, Ruston Webster.

Each reiterated the vibe that has come out of Tennessee the last few days of the team throwing its full support behind quarterback Jake Locker, the former Ferndale and Washington star who will be entering his fourth season with the Titans next season but has had trouble staying on the field during his career, starting just 18 of a possible 32 games. He started only seven last year due to several injuries, including a foot ailment that finally ended his season in November.

While Locker is under contract through 2014, the team has to decide by May if it will exercise an option on the 2015 season that would play Locker $13 million. The recent comments indicate that the team intends to do just that.

“From what I have seen, Jake exhibits a lot of qualities that you can get excited about,” said Whisenhunt, the former Arizona coach who has taken over for the fired Mike Munchak. “One of the strengths that we’ve done is trying to tailor what we do to the player. Until we get Jake on the field and see some of the things he can do, we don’t know which direction it’s going to go. But I’m excited about what I’ve a far as those qualities that he has exhibited.”

Whisenhunt said the expectation is that Locker will be healthy when Organized Training Activities begin in May.

“We are anticipating having him,” Whisenhunt said.

Webster said that Locker “has played well” when he’s been healthy. “From that standpoint, the view we have is good,” Webster said. “Now it’s really just about him staying healthy, and he knows that.”

 

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