Tennessee Titans keep stocking up ex-Colts, now up to 5 and counting Print
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Thursday, 13 September 2007 11:42
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 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Nick Harper didn't watch his ex-teammates in Indianapolis open the season last week. By the next morning, everyone wanted to tell him how Peyton Manning burned ex-Colts cornerback Jason David for three touchdowns.
``Whether he decides to attack me or not, who knows,'' Harper said of Manning. ``I don't know. I don't know the game plan. I didn't practice with them. I don't know what they're going to do. I'm just going to go out and do what I've got to do.''
The cornerback used to know the Colts very well. But he left Indianapolis as a free agent in March after winning a Super Bowl ring with the Colts, and the Tennessee Titans quickly snapped him up to boost their secondary.
He's not alone.
The Titans have added five ex-Colts to their roster since March 2006, four on defense.
``They have brought good players in, and they can't keep them all,'' Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. ``We've just been in the right place at the right time to be able to acquire them.''
The Titans started last year by luring linebacker David Thornton as a free agent and picking up tight end Ben Hartsock off waivers last October. Then they signed Harper in March, claimed linebacker Gilbert Gardner off waivers in May and signed defensive tackle Corey Simon on Aug. 28.
``Half the team over there is us,'' Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney said. ``But it will be the same business for us. It don't matter who's out there for us, you've still got to do your job''
Colts coach Tony Dungy sees the personnel moves as a compliment. ``They did themselves well and got some guys who really can play the game,'' he said.
Talk to the ex-Colts, and they insist Sunday's game between the AFC South rivals is just another game on the schedule.
Some Titans don't buy that.
``I know my first year we played Arizona was a big deal for me,'' Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. ``Anytime you get a chance to go back and play your old team, it's a chance to prove and say to them, you think they made a mistake by letting you go.''
Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck pointed out that Thornton's two best games in 2006 came against Indianapolis.
``If that's any reflection of how Nick's going to play, that's great,'' Bulluck said. ``We'll take it.''
Simon might have the biggest motivation for this game. The Colts released him Aug. 4 after he failed their physical. Asked why Simon was released, Dungy called it an injury situation.
``He was probably part of the best defense we've had here, in 2005. He was a big, big part of it,'' Dungy said. ``Unfortunately, we just didn't have him on the field as much as we would like.''
But Dungy said familiarity only will go so far Sunday.
``It comes down to who plays the best, who is the most fundamentally sound and who makes the big plays when they get a chance,'' he said.
Harper promised he won't make the same mistakes David did against Manning last week. He believes David tried to guess too much, something he tipped off by keeping his eyes on the backfield too long instead of the receiver he was covering.
``You guess, he can burn you. You've got to read your keys,'' Harper said.
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AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report.
 

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