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Tennessee Titans CEO Tommy Smith endorses quarterback Jake Locker

Anwar S. Richardson
Shutdown Corner

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The Tennessee Titans have the 11th overall pick in this year’s draft. There might be an elite quarterback available for the Titans at that spot. Tennessee has been searching for a franchise quarterback since Steve McNair was under center.

However, Titans quarterback Jake Locker does not have anything to worry about.

Titans President and CEO Tommy Smith endorsed Locker on Tuesday, and said his quarterback will be given every opportunity to start in 2014.

"Absolutely. I do like Jake … and I think Ken (Whisenhunt) is going to be very good for Jake," Smith told The Tennessean. "Jake is a competitor. He is a smart guy. I think he has the ability. He is the quarterback. That’s what I have told him every time I see him. And that’s the way it is."

Locker’s biggest problem has been staying healthy.

The quarterback has missed 14 of 32 potential starts over the past two seasons because of injuries. Locker, a first-round pick in 2011, continues to recover from a season-ending foot injury sustained in 2013. Locker has 3,974 yards, 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in three NFL seasons.

According to ProFootballTalk.com, the Titans have until May to decide whether to pick up Locker’s fifth-year option in 2015, which would cost $13 million. That would be $13 million reasons to keep Locker as a starter in 2014.

However, Smith was noncommittal about the future of running back Chris Johnson, who is slated to earn $8 million in 2014. Johnson earned $10 million last season, and has three years remaining on his contract.

"What we are going to do is make sure Ken has all the tools he needs to win," Smith told The Tennessean. "He is going through the process now of meeting and evaluating and designing plays, and all of that and that is the decision that is going to be made by Ruston and Ken. C.J. has been nothing but productive since he has been here, and I don’t think there is any need for more speculation at this time."

There is also no need to speculate about Locker’s immediate future.

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Anwar S Richardson is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at NFLAnwar@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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