An NFL marriage that was doomed from the start unofficially ended with a host of police officers questioning a confused Vince Young about his alleged intentions to take his own life — all while coach Jeff Fisher sat there, in what Young perceived as enjoyment.
The Young-Fisher pairing with the Titans started poorly and devolved into a bitter feud that resulted in the coach getting fired and the quarterback eventually bombing out of the league, according to a Sports Illustrated feature on Young.
Fisher, who declined comment to SI, never wanted the University of Texas legend in the first place, with Titans owner Bud Adams making the call on the No. 3 pick in the 2006 draft. It was an early sign of a mismatch the owner only would make worse by cozying up to his new quarterback.
In early quarterback meetings, with Young holding the clipboard behind Kerry Collins, he would establish his credentials by saying he was “the only guy in this room” with Adams’ phone number. Young was painted as coddled and entitled, which would have been just fine if he could play.
When the Collins-led Titans started 0-3, Young took over, throwing 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as the team went 8-5 in the final 13 games. An uneven beginning took another turn after the season, when offensive coordinator Norm Chow was fired.
Without that buffer, Young and Fisher fell apart. Young today accuses Fisher of leaking their private conversations to the press, along with generally mistreating the quarterback — in one instance, Young said, he was caught in traffic en route the team plane and showed up in time to see the team leave without him.
“Where I’m from,” Young said he told Fisher, “that’s like saying F you.”
And then it got ugly. During the 2008 season opener, a Titans win in which Young was booed, he sprained a knee ligament. Instead of reporting for a medical exam the next day, he left his house with his gun and no phone. (Young said he was licensed and always carried a gun.)
Young’s wife called Fisher.
Fisher called the team therapist and the police.
When Young — who said the gun was unloaded in his glove box — later reported to the team facility, eight officers were waiting for him.
“He’s talking all slowly,” Young, 34, said about their questioning, “like: ‘Mr. Young … are you .. OK? Do you … feel like … hurting yourself?’
“I’m like, Dude, quit talking to me! And I’m looking at Fisher like, ‘You can stop all this, all the suicidal talk.’ He’s sitting there, saying nothing. I feel like he was just laughing at that s–t. The [TV] cameraman hiding in the woods — it all felt like a big setup. And now I gotta walk through the airport as the Suicidal Guy for the rest of my life.”
Today, he walks around as a Texas icon and NFL bust. Young’s football career ended earlier this month in Saskatchewan, where he was a backup CFL quarterback until tearing his hamstring and getting waived.
Fisher, 59, may have had his final NFL shot in Los Angeles last season. He was fired with several weeks remaining on the schedule. The so-called master of the 8-8 season has a career record of 173-165.