boston.com Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe

The Titans remember

Bad taste lingers from 2006 finale

FOXBOROUGH -- After the Patriots beat the Titans in the 2006 regular-season finale, there were hard feelings between the teams.

Some Patriots players were upset at what they detected as laughter on the Titans' sideline when safety Rodney Harrison was injured on a block by receiver Bobby Wade (now with the Vikings).

Meanwhile, Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck expressed dismay that quarterback Vinny Testaverde was inserted into the game late in the fourth quarter, throwing a touchdown pass with 1:45 left in a 40-23 victory.

Yesterday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick and cornerback Ellis Hobbs said they weren't concerned that tempers may flare in Friday night's preseason game against the Titans at Gillette Stadium. But in Tennessee, Bulluck was champing at the bit to get on the same field as the Patriots.

"Just the way they were acting after the game kind of irked me," Bulluck said. "A couple of the guys on the team weren't being too professional. It is only a preseason game, but 87 [Reche Caldwell] needs to keep his head on a swivel, that's all I've got to say."

Bulluck apparently felt Caldwell went over the line in the postgame celebration, and took a verbal shot at him yesterday, pointing out his dropped passes in the AFC Championship game against the Colts.

"There are no personal vendettas or anything like that, there is just one person in particular that sticks out in mind," Bulluck said. "He is probably the sixth receiver, so I don't even know if he'll be in when I'm in. If he is, I'll know, trust me."

Although the Patriots have yet to officially sign Testaverde, Bulluck also had a message for the 43-year-old quarterback.

"I hope his old [butt] is out there, too," he said.

Asked if he was concerned about any carryover that could lead to injuries, Belichick said last year's season finale wasn't on his mind.

"Right now, I'm just concerned about our football team trying to get better and trying to do a better job coaching them and getting our team ready to play the opening game against the Jets and to play a 16-game regular-season schedule," he said. "There's a lot of things last year that happened that we've moved on from all of it."

Added Hobbs, "Last year was last year. As far as them, I can't speak for them if they're bringing anything from the past season. I hope not, because we're not. Our main focus right now is the 2007 season."

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES