NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans preferred to go into the season with an experienced kicker, not with an undrafted rookie. They feel they got the best one still available in Ryan Succop.
The Titans agreed to a one-year deal with Succop on Monday and waived rookie Travis Coons to make space.
“There were a number of guys that were available or that were out there,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said of Succop. “He was the one that we had rated the highest, so we pursued him and we got him. That to me is what’s important.”
Kicker was the fifth and final player Tennessee added after the NFL deadline to trim the roster to 53 on Saturday. They claimed two wide receivers in Kris Durham and T.J. Graham and cornerback Brandon Harris off waivers Sunday and followed by adding linebacker Quentin Groves and Succop on Monday.
Whisenhunt, in his first season as head coach in Tennessee, said they’re trying to improve the roster and had opportunities because of the players available.
“I don’t think you ever really know for sure how many moves you’re going to make,” Whisenhunt said. “First year, there’s a lot of turnover.”
The Titans had kept Travis Coons out of Washington over Maikon Bonani in the final cuts after releasing Rob Bironas, the NFL’s fourth-most accurate kicker who spent the past nine seasons in Tennessee in March. Coons was 2 of 3 in the preseason, and the Titans worked out Jay Feely, Ryan Lindley and Garrett Hartley last week.
The Chiefs released Succop on Saturday, going with an undrafted option at kicker. Succop, 27, hit 81 percent of his field goals over his past five seasons and his career-long is 54 yards. He has spent the past five seasons with the Chiefs who drafted him with the final pick of the 2009 draft out of South Carolina.
Succop’s agent, Joel Turner, said the kicker is happy with a “very good opportunity.”
The 6-foot-2 Succop is 119 of 147 on field goals in his career, including 9 of 17 from 50 yards or longer. Succop was seventh in the NFL last season with 47 touchbacks and connected on 25 of 29 field goals. He has five game-winning kicks in his career.
“We felt very good about Travis and what he did in training camp,” Whisenhunt said. “But we felt like we had a chance to get a veteran kicker that had done it, that we thought was still in the prime of his career that had good stats. We felt like it was a good move for our team.”
Now Succop will see his old team Sunday with the Titans visiting Kansas City in the season opener, something Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he thought was a good chance of happening when he spoke to reporters earlier Monday. Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt said Succop, who was due to earn $2 million with Kansas City this season, will be missed.
“He set a bunch of records here,” Colquitt said before news of Succop’s new deal broke. “There’s 31 other teams, and five of them really looking for a kicker right now. Ryan’s going to attach to someone who is looking for a kicker right now.”
Titans Tidbits: Groves played for Whisenhunt and Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton in Arizona, and the linebacker also played for Horton in Cleveland last season. Whisenhunt said he doesn’t expect it to be too difficult a change for Groves. ... The Titans voted for captains Monday but the results had not been tabulated yet. ... The Titans signed CB Khalid Wooten to their final spot on the practice squad.
AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Missouri, contributed to this report.
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker