Bulluck, Haynesworth ride Titans Caravan to Kingsport

By Wes Holtsclaw

   KINGSPORT--On Monday night at Fort Henry Mall, the Tennessee Titans made their sixth trip to the Tri-Cities as part of the Sixth Annual Titans Caravan.
   This year, all-pro linebacker Keith Bulluck and second-year defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth met with fans and signed autographs, showing their appreciation for the support in this area.
   The Titan players met with six Unicoi Elementary School students in what was a touching moment before the event.
   Earlier in the year, 10-year old Christopher King passed away and the school began a reading challenge within the school due to his love for the Tennessee Titans.
   King's parents and the top six students of the "King/Tennessee Titans Reading Challenge" got to meet with the players beforehand. It was a special moment for the family, and especially the players.
   "The fans up here and all over show support and they don't get the chance to come down to Nashville," said Bulluck. "It's a pretty far ride, so it's a good opportunity."
   Bulluck led the squad with 180 tackles last year, which was the most by anyone in the franchise since 1986. He stayed on the field through all defensive packages during the season.
   "We're definitely looking forward to this year," he said. "We left off last year on a good note and surprised a lot of people This year, we plan to go all the way."
   The Titans have arguably one of the toughest schedules in the league this season, hosting Oakland, New Orleans, Miami, Buffalo and defending champion Tampa Bay.
   They also go on the road to New England, Atlanta and face the New York Jets during their lone Monday night appearance. Bulluck feels the team will be ready this season.
   "We don't plan to lose a game at home, every team should think that way," he said. "I don't care who we play at home. All of those teams are good teams and have good personnel."
   "At the same time right now we're concentrating on us and wanting to put us on the map," he said. "We want to let everybody in the country know that we're no joke and just as good as any of those teams."
   Albert Haynesworth was the youngest player on the squad in 2002, leaving the Tennessee Volunteers early to pursue the professional game. He didn't disappoint in his rookie season as an instrumental part in the defense's number two ranking against the run.
   "It was harder than I thought," said Haynesworth. "But once I got the hang of it, I kind of did my thing. I'm ready to break loose and I want the Titans to win every game. As a personal goal, I want to go to the Pro Bowl, so hopefully we can do both of those."
   The big defensive tackle is ready for the upcoming season.
   "I can't wait for the season to start, we have the same team," he said. "Nobody on defense really changed a lot so I think we're going to be pretty good on defense. Teams are going to have a tough time trying to get around us."
   Haynesworth was disappointed with the finish last season -- just one game away from the Super Bowl -- but he says it drives the squad every day in the off-season.
   "It's kind of like getting to the dinner table and your momma's got a big T-bone steak with potatoes, and just as soon as you get your fork into it, she pulls it away," he said. "That's about how it was with the Super Bowl. It was right there and taken away from us, so we're extra hungry."
   The Titans open their preseason schedule, hosting the Cleveland Browns on Aug. 9. They begin their NFL season at home against AFC Champion Oakland Raiders in a rematch of their AFC title finale with a Sunday Night football outing at 7:30 p.m.