Titans boost QB experience, add Collins as insurance policy

After waiting months to sign with a team, veteran quarterback Kerry Collins didn't join the Titans to watch from the sideline.

After waiting years behind Steve McNair for his chance to play, veteran quarterback Billy Volek never planned on surrendering his starter's job less than two weeks before the season.

Someone's not going to be happy.

"The goal is to play," Collins said. "I love playing. I am used to playing. I've started a lot of games in this league. My focus right now is first learning the offense, and helping this team any way I can. I think the competition is going to be good. Ultimately, it is going to make us a better team."

Collins, heading into his 12th NFL season, passed a physical for the Titans on Monday and signed a one-year contract that will pay him about $2 million a base salary of $1.3 million and a roster bonus in the $750,000 range. He didn't take part in practice, but spent some time with offensive coordinator Norm Chow.

Coach Jeff Fisher said he hopes Collins will see action in Friday's preseason finale at Green Bay and that rookie Vince Young probably will remain the No. 2 quarterback.

"If we were going to start and play against the Jets tomorrow, Billy Volek would be our starter and I think it is reasonable to assume at this point that it is going to be difficult to get somebody in a new system ready to play early," Fisher said. "But Billy has some competition. We are going to create competition and we are trying to do everything we can to put the best players on the field."

Volek's play in three preseason games has been inconsistent, which apparently led to the pursuit of Collins in recent days.

"I understand this is a business. It's been a business from day one and I don't worry about the things I can't control," Volek said. "They needed some experience at the quarterback position, so it doesn't bother me at all."

As Collins milled around on the practice field, many players passed him by, unaware he'd been signed.

"I look at it like this, man: we are a team that can't really be too picky," linebacker Keith Bulluck said. "The more experience or whatever it is we can get, the better. Kerry Collins is no slouch by any stretch of the imagination."

Wide receiver Drew Bennett said he doesn't think adding Collins is a sign the Titans are "giving up" on Volek.

"I just think the more veteran leadership you can bring in the better," Bennett said. "It doesn't matter where it is and I think that is the case here."

Collins, who has played for the Panthers, Saints, Giants and Raiders, spent the past several months working out at his home in North Carolina.

By late Monday, his No. 5 jersey was hanging in a locker just a few feet from Volek's.

"Once it started to get June or July I really started to get the itch. It was a real challenging time for me," Collins said. "But I had hoped and thought eventually an opportunity would come and it is here and I am excited about it.

"This is a team I feel I can contribute to and make an impact on."

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