Sunday, 1 p.m.
Givens likes Houston's new coach, Gary Kubiak. He likes the idea of playing in
his hometown. But he doesn't like the offer: five years, $18.5 million. If
that's the best the Texans can do, then Tennessee is looking a lot better.
Talking on his cellphone to Blank while attending a rodeo at Reliant Stadium,
Givens sees a fan with an Eddie George number 27 Titans jersey and thinks, It's
Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
At his airport hotel in Houston, Givens lies on his bed, contemplating his
future. Now the Patriots are back in, with incentives that could push their
five-year offer to $20 million. It's tempting, but Blank thinks he can get the
Titans to $24 million without incentives. A trip to Tennessee awaits Givens on
Monday. "The last two days feel like two weeks,'' he says. "I get to
Miami, and [I hear] I'm signing with Cleveland. I get to Houston, and the
Houston paper says I'm signing with New England. None of it's true. I'm
sweating. I'm nervous. Right now, five million's a pretty big difference. I'd
say I'm leaning toward Tennessee. Wait. I'm not leaning toward anyone. I'm
Monday, 12:30 a.m.
Givens finally falls asleep, expecting that by dusk the following day, he'll
have signed a deal with someone.
Monday, 4 p.m. In
Nashville, Givens gets one final pitch from the Patriots. But the wideout,
who's made $2.3 million in his four seasons, is keen on the amount of
guaranteed money because--who knows?--this might be his last NFL contract. The
Titans are guaranteeing $8 million, the Patriots $5.5 million. Barring a change
of heart, Givens has caught his last ball from Tom Brady.
Monday, 5:45 p.m.
Givens has been to a Nashville hospital for a physical (he passed with flying
colors) and met with coach Jeff Fisher and the offensive staff (he'd be one of
three wideouts in a scheme that runs three- and four-receiver sets about 60% of
the time). At the end of an hour session with Reese, he asks about the
quarterback situation. The G.M tells him it's Steve McNair this year, then
adds, "We've got the third overall pick in the draft, and I can promise you
quarterback is a position we will not ignore."
comfortable. He likes how he'd fit in the offense. He wonders if Reese wants a
decision on the spot, and Reese's answer is the right one to a guy under so
much pressure. "This is a big decision in your life," Reese says.
"Sleep on it. Let us know tomorrow."
Monday, 8:15 p.m.
After getting a tour of Brentwood and Franklin, towns outside of Nashville
where many Titans players live, Givens takes time from dinner with the
offensive coaching staff to text-message a friend. " Nashville is a very
nice city, surprisingly," he writes from the dinner table. From the sound
of it, it's a place he may get to like quite a bit.
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In a frenetic first weekend of free agency, these three teams made the most