After reviewing the comprehensive history of starting quarterbacks over the history of the franchise, I was unable to find a single one who had worn the number four. The only two kickers deserving of recognition have been already included on this list, so I went to the punters.
Ah yes, the punter. Is there any job in the NFL that comes with less recognition? If I asked you to name three punters who have played for the Titans in the last 15 years off the top of your head, could you do it? I don't know that I could.
As far as I can tell, the only punter to have worn the number four and actually done something worthy of recognition is A.J. Trapasso and he never even made the team for the regular season.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm challenging you, help us find, SOMEONE worthy of this spot. I'm no Titans historian, but I've looked over countless team rosters and I've come up with nothing. Literally, nothing. Trapasso's preseason scramble was cool to watch, but I feel like including him on a list with the greatest players to ever wear this uniform would just be wrong. I refuse to do it. It's not that something about Trapasso "insults" me, but the principle of including him on an all-time greats list seems out of line to me.
Call me lazy, but I assure you, I scoured the internet looking for someone, anyone that could be considered worthy. Please understand that there just aren't very many good players to have worn the number four and even fewer that have played for the Titans or Oilers.
Now, our next member isn't exactly Hall of Fame material either, but Kerry Collins had a nice run here, for a little while at least.
Career Achievements: Pro Bowl: 1996, 2008.
On April 22, 1995, Kerry Collins was given the honor of being the first player ever selected by the Carolina Panthers. Coincidentally enough, our very own Steve McNair was selected two picks ahead of Collins. Thank God for that I suppose because Collins was kind of mediocre in his time with the Panthers. Although Carolina made it to the NFC Championship game with Collins under center, he quickly regressed, allegedly due to alcoholism, and was put on waivers in the middle of the 1998 season.
Through a wacky series of events, including stops in Oakland where he saw a lot of backup duty and New York where he lead the over matched Giants to their downfall at the hands of Baltimore's "Death on Wings" defense, Collins ended up in Nashville, presumably to mentor the then-unproven rookie Vince Young.
Initially, he kind of stunk up the joint here too, but in 2008, he played a season worth remembering. It was probably the best year of Kerry's career. His stats weren't mind-blowing, but he took the Titans to a 13-3 record and were it not for a few "unfortunate" injuries and untimely turnovers in the divisional playoff game against Baltimore, he probably would have taken them to their first Super Bowl win. He played admirably in that game and battled his heart out, but in the end, the running game just wasn't able to get things going without Chris Johnson and the Ravens advanced.
He may not have panned out as a star with Carolina, but Kerry offered the Titans one of the best years of his career and deserves this honor over any of the others who have worn number five before him. You can say what you will about Collins' recent performance, but admit it, you loved him in 2008. He was the leader of the offense in one of the greatest seasons in recent memory and in my mind, that's got to count for something.
Collins' appeal goes beyond one season of work though. He's always been known as one of the NFL's most charitable players. Upon signing his contract to play for the Panthers, he immediately donated $250,000 to Penn State's athletic department. He also has donated over two million dollars to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, nearly $120,000 to Manhattan's Ladder 5/Engine 24 relief fund right after 9/11, and heads the KC for Kids Fund which has given over half a million dollars towards the renovations of the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine. He also threw in an extra $100,000 to establish the Kerry M. Collins Computer Center and Classroom with equipment designed for children with disabilities. Finally, Collins donated $1,000 for every touchdown he threw and every game the Raiders won during the 2005 season to help the Katrina Relief Fund and was honored by the Second Mile Foundation in recognition of his commitment to others.
So at the end of week 3, we have an open spot and maybe not the best quarterback, but one hell of a good guy occupying our two slots. Hopefully next week will yield some more impressive results.