2014 DRAFT GUIDE
With 15 years of sellouts, Titans busy wooing fans

By TERESA M. WALKER - AP Sports Writer
    2014-02-18 20:01

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Rhonda and Kevin Lawrence have had season tickets for the Titans since their start in Tennessee and couldn't help but notice all the empty seats around them in the upper deck at LP Field.

She said she wants her Titans back.

The Titans are just as eager to get their fans to return.

The team invited season ticket holders to lunch and dinner Tuesday, showing off new coach Ken Whisenhunt as part of fan outreach for a franchise that has sold out 15 straight seasons. They brought in Titans to pose for photos and sign autographs at both sessions, attracting 4,600 fans to Nashville's new Music City Center. Whisenhunt answered questions during each session.

President and CEO Tommy Smith and members of the Adams' family ownership group flew in from Houston for lunch to help make it clear that the status quo is unacceptable for the Titans. Smith said on WGFX-FM 104.5 The Zone's Midday 180 that they had finished studying the franchise from top to bottom, a process that included firing Mike Munchak on Jan. 4 and hiring Whisenhunt.

''You're going to see a marked difference in this organization,'' Smith said.

Whisenhunt, who was headed for the NFL Combine in Indianapolis after dinner, was making his first public appearance in Nashville since being hired. He said he wants fans to be excited about what the Titans will put on the field this year. Whisenhunt also said he has seen Nashville get behind the Titans before.

''I've played here as an opponent, and I know what a tough place it is to play when that's the case, and that's what I want,'' Whisenhunt said. ''It gives you an advantage, and a home-field advantage in this league is something you can use to win games. I've seen it happen. Look what happened in Seattle. They make it a tough place to play, and next thing you know they're in the Super Bowl. Any little bit that helps we'll take.''

The Titans had one of the NFL's best home-field advantages when they opened their stadium for the 1999 season, winning an NFL-record 12 straight games. They have sold out 154 straight games at the stadium, but getting fans to use the tickets has been challenging with the Titans not reaching the playoffs the past five seasons. They went 7-9 last season with a five-game home skid, their longest since leaving Texas for Tennessee in 1997.

Don MacLachlan, executive vice president of administration and facilities, said the franchise finds itself in a similar situation to 1998 and 1999 with Smith instructing the Titans to make sure they build their base well and take nothing for granted.

''The fact that we sold out games for 15 straight years doesn't mean we'll do it for a 16th straight year,'' MacLachlan said. ''That's why we're way in front of the curve this year.''

The Titans currently have 22,000 season ticket holders, a number expected to rise over the next 90 days with renewals. They also will start selling single-game tickets soon after the schedule is released, which is expected in April. Tennessee has devised new concessions, improved cell coverage, and made other changes to lure fans back into the stadium and away from their high-definition TVs.

Smith has said he plans to spend more money in free agency in March, and the Titans hold the No. 11 draft pick in May.

Still, they all know what will pack the stadium fastest: Winning.

''The fans are going to be there early because there is some excitement, and then where it goes from there depends on how we are as a football team,'' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ''The way you get fans in the seats is win football games. That's how it's been, and how it's always going to be.''

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

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Buffalo Bills WR Marcus Easley (knee) and SS Da'Norris Searcy (ankle) suffered injuries during the team's Week 3 game and are considered questionable to return.

Greg ScruggsSep 21 03:22p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared OT Garry Gilliam, LB Bruce Irvin, OT Andrew McDonald, RB Christine Michael, WR Kevin Norwood, DE Greg Scruggs, CB Tharold Simon inactive for Week 3.

Jamaal CharlesSep 21 03:12p

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared SS Eric Berry, RB Jamaal Charles, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, QB Aaron Murray, DE Damion Square, RB De'Anthony Thomas, WR Albert Wilson inactive for Week 3.

Carson PalmerSep 21 03:12p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 3 game.

Tony CarterSep 21 03:12p

The Denver Broncos have declared CB Tony Carter, OG Ben Garland, WR Cody Latimer, LB Lerentee McCray, OT Michael Schofield, LB Danny Trevathan, DT Mitch Unrein inactive for Week 3.

Jamaal CharlesSep 21 03:11p

Charles is out for the Week 3 game.

Mike PounceySep 21 03:02p

The Miami Dolphins have declared DE Terrence Fede, LB Koa Misi, RB Knowshon Moreno, C Mike Pouncey, OG Shelley Smith, LB Jordan Tripp and OT Billy Turner inactive for Week 3.

Vernon DavisSep 21 02:52p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (ankle, knee) has been declared inactive for Week 3.

Vernon DavisSep 21 02:52p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared CB Tramaine Brock, DE Cornellius Carradine, OT Anthony Davis, TE Vernon Davis, C Marcus Martin, TE Vance McDonald, WR Quinton Patton inactive for Week 3.

Chad HenneSep 21 02:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles entered the team's Week 3 game in the second half after QB Chad Henne was benched.

Dave ZastudilSep 21 02:52p

The Arizona Cardinals have declared LB Victor Butler, LB Glenn Carson, TE Rob Housler, LB Alex Okafor, QB Carson Palmer, NT Alameda Ta'amu, P Dave Zastudil inactive for Week 3.

Stephen TullochSep 21 02:42p

Detroit Lions LB Stephen Tulloch (knee) and FS Don Carey (hamstring) suffered injuries during the team's Week 3 game and are considered questionable to return.

Dennis PittaSep 21 02:22p

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Matt CasselSep 21 02:02p

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Danny WoodheadSep 21 01:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Danny Woodhead (undisclosed) was carted off the field after suffering an undisclosed injury in Week 3.

Adrian PetersonSep 21 12:42p

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Ray RiceSep 21 12:22p

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Keenan AllenSep 21 12:04p

Allen is active for the Week 3 game.

Shane VereenSep 21 12:02p

New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen (shoulder) is active against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Sept. 21.

A.J. GreenSep 21 11:52a

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) is active against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Sept. 21.

Anthony SpencerSep 21 11:52a

The Dallas Cowboys have declared DL Anthony Spencer, DL Davon Coleman, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, LB Justin Durant, LB Rolando McClain, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 3.

Bryce BrownSep 21 11:52a

The Buffalo Bills have declared RB Bryce Brown, TE Chris Gragg, OG Cyril Richardson, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, LB Keith Rivers, LB Randell Johnson, CB Ross Cockrell inactive for Week 3.

Aaron DobsonSep 21 11:52a

New England Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins is active for the Week 3 game Sunday, Sept. 21. WR Aaron Dobson is a healthy scratch for the game.

Aaron DobsonSep 21 11:52a

The New England Patriots have declared WR Aaron Dobson, CB Don Jones, RB James White, OL Josh Kline, DL Michael Buchanan, C Ryan Wendell, DE Zach Moore inactive for Week 3.

Akeem JordanSep 21 11:42a

The Washington Redskins have declared LB Akeem Jordan, TE Jordan Reed, DL Kedric Golston, OT Morgan Moses, QB Robert Griffin III, WR Santana Moss, CB Tracy Porter inactive for Week 3.

Brandon WattsSep 21 11:42a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared LB Brandon Watts, WR Charles X. Johnson, QB Christian Ponder, OG David Yankey, WR Rodney Smith, DL Scott Crichton, CB Shaun Prater inactive for Week 3.

Arthur JonesSep 21 11:42a

The Indianapolis Colts have declared DL Arthur Jones, LB Chris Carter, WR Da'Rick Rogers, LB Jerrell Freeman, OL Joe Reitz, C Khaled Holmes, OG Lance Louis inactive for Week 3.

Brandon ThompsonSep 21 11:42a

The Cincinnati Bengals have declared DL Brandon Thompson, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, OG Kevin Zeitler, WR Marvin Jones, RB Rex Burkhead, LB Sean Porter, LB Vontaze Burfict inactive for Week 3.

Ben TateSep 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared RB Ben Tate, DL Eric Martin, TE Gerell Robinson, DL Ish Kitchen, WR LaRon Byrd, CB Pierre Desir, DB Robert Nelson inactive for Week 3.

David HawthorneSep 21 11:42a

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB David Hawthorne, FB Erik Lorig, DL John Jenkins, SS Marcus Ball, RB Mark Ingram, WR Nick Toon, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 3.

Justin ForsettSep 21 11:39a

Forsett will start the Week 3 game for the Ravens. Bernard Pierce is out.

Bernard PierceSep 21 11:39a

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