The countdown to kickoff continues.
The Tennessee Titans will open the 2020 regular season Sept. 14 at Denver. That is 92 days away. So, today we look at one way the number 92 figures into the team’s history.
Cortland Finnegan was as opportunistic as they come.
So, it makes sense that the cornerback seized one particular moment in a big way. It was Dec. 17, 2006 when he gathered up a fumble and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown.
Finnegan’s return is longest after a fumble recovery during the Titans era (1999-present) and the third-longest in franchise history. On its own, it also gave him the highest single-season total of fumble return yards during the Titans era (Denard Walker, with 83 in 1999, is second).
Few – if any – realized then, but it was a sign of things to come.
A seventh-round pick (No. 215 overall) in that year’s draft, Finnegan – the second player ever drafted out of Samford – made the most of his chance to play in the NFL and ultimately appeared in 133 games for four teams over 10 seasons (93 of those games were with Tennessee). He was named a first-team All-Pro and appeared in the Pro Bowl (2008).
During his time with the Titans he intercepted 14 passes, including a team-high five in 2009, and returned three for touchdowns. He added four more picks later in his career, the last of which was Nov. 13, 2013 – against Tennessee in the only chance he had to play against the team that drafted him.
The fumble recovery against Jacksonville was the second of his rookie season. The first came in the season-opener – his NFL debut – but did not include any return yards.
When Finnegan went the distance versus the Jaguars (linebacker David Thornton stripped scrambling quarterback David Garrard after a 16-yard gain), he broke a 10-10 tie and put Tennessee ahead to stay in a game it ultimately won 24-17. It happened with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter and was the first of two defensive touchdowns the Titans scored in fewer than four minutes.
Finnegan did not miss the moment when it arrived, which was typical of his entire NFL career.