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Titans cut Travis Henry, travelling to Denver
Titans release Henry to avoid bonus
Posted: Saturday March 3, 2007 5:38PM; Updated: Saturday March 3, 2007 7:15PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Titans released Travis Henry on Saturday after negotiations failed to rework a contract that contained an $8.3 million bonus due Monday.
The running back was flying to Denver to talk with the Broncos, but the Titans remained hopeful that they can lure him back after he checks out the market.
"We have not closed the door on Travis and we are continuing to talk, but today was a trigger date for a roster bonus that we were unwilling to pay and they knew that," Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said in a statement.
"A strong run game is an important part of what this team is about and Travis can be a big part of that. Over the next couple of days, we will continue to work to get the right deal for both of us done."
Henry's agent, Hadley Engelhard, wasn't immediately available. He had been negotiating with the Titans during the past few days, trying to rework the bonus into a longer deal.
Henry revived not only his career, but the Titans' rushing offense in 2006 by running for 1,211 yards and seven touchdowns. That was the best performance by a Titans running back since 2000, when Eddie George had the best year of his career.
The Titans had said they wanted to keep Henry, a six-year veteran who beat out Chris Brown for the starting job by the fifth game of the season. He finished fifth in the AFC last season in rushing and became the 100th player in NFL history to reach 5,000 yards rushing in his career on Dec. 3.
Brown is an unrestricted free agent, who isn't expected back. This leaves the Titans with only former Southern California star LenDale White, their second-round draft pick last year, at running back. They also have fullback Ahmard Hall. White struggled as a rookie with injuries and had 61 carries for 244 yards.
They have 10 picks in the draft, but cornerback and receiver will be priorities for a team trying to fix the NFL's worst defense.
Cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones has the NFL examining his off-field problems, including 10 incidents where he's talked to police, including a triple-shooting Feb. 19 at a Las Vegas strip club. Drew Bennett, who started 15 games at receiver last season, signed Saturday with St. Louis.
Tennessee traded for Henry in July 2005, and he struggled that year coming off an injured ankle. He also had a four-game suspension by the NFL. He had only 182 combined carries in 2004 and 2005.
But he rebounded strongly in 2006 after working himself back into top shape with an ex-college teammate.
Henry turned in the best rushing performance of his career with 178 yards rushing against Washington, which snapped an 0-5 start for the Titans. That was one of six 100-yard games, and six of his nine career rushes of 30 yards or longer came in 2006, including a 70-yarder.
He averaged 4.5 yards per carry, which was fourth in the NFL among all running backs with 250 or more carries.
Combined with rookie quarterback Vince Young, Henry helped the Titans finish fifth in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 138.4 yards per game. They averaged 156.3 yards per game -- third in the NFL -- as they won eight of their final 11 games.
Henry, who turned 28 in October, remains the career rushing leader at the University of Tennessee.