In Defense of Reese

Here’s one thing that upsets me a little. For several years, I’ve heard unknowledgeable fans blame Floyd Reese for the Titans’ 2005-06 salary cap problems. Such claims are unfair and untrue. The decision to go into salary cap hell was a joint one by Bud Adams, former president Jeff Diamond, Reese, Jeff Fisher, and Steve Underwood.
They understood there was a window of opportunity to try to win a Super Bowl with the outstanding talent they had. To keep that talent together for a few more years meant mortgaging future years, and that was the decision they jointly made.
To fans who blamed Reese for the cap problems, I’d ask, “Would you rather he disbanded those great teams player by player, forgoing the best chances for a Super Bowl?”
For years, Reese warned the day would come when the Titans would have to pay the price. Yet casual fans ignored him, or had selective hearing, because when that day came, he was the man they blamed for “getting us into this mess.”
I guess I’m tired of all the years of hearing Floyd get a bad rap from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Reese did a lot of good things for the Titans/Oilers over the years, and I’d like to touch on a few of them here.
Reese can’t take credit for drafting Steve McNair or Vince Young, both selected with the third overall pick, in 1995 and 2006, respectively. Those decisions were both made by Adams, after consultation with Reese. But he can take credit for the following:
- Trading down in the 1996 draft, and then back up, to select Eddie George with the 14th pick.
- Trading down to select Rookie of the Year and All-Pro Jevon Kearse with the 16th pick in 1999.
- Picking All-Pro Keith Bulluck with the 30th overall selection in 2000.
He also drafted many core starters, maybe not stars, but solid players nonetheless. And his success in acquiring talent goes beyond the draft.
Reese has also had success with free agent signings, most recently with Pro Bowlers Kyle Vanden Bosch and Kevin Mawae, Super Bowl champions Chris Hope and David Givens, and former Colt mainstay David Thornton.
One thing that impressed me about Floyd was his weekly radio talk show. He was friendly and cordial to all callers, no matter what their gripe was or how rude and insulting they sometimes were to him.
Floyd was a man who always seemed to have a smile on his face, befitting that of a genuinely nice guy.
Reese was honored with the 2006 Horrigan Award by the Pro Football Writers of America. The award is presented to a league or club official for his or her qualities and professional style in helping pro football writers do their jobs.
For years, Reese had to make some tough calls on the business side of the game, calls that meant many players would not be back as Titans.
Last week, he was the guy on the other end of one of tough business decisions. But don’t worry about Floyd. He’ll have a good job somewhere else, and will do well at it. He’s one nice guy who won’t finish last.

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