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Agent: McNair could be released or traded soon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Steve McNair's tenure with the Tennessee Titans could be over within the next 24 hours, according to his
agent. Team officials don't agree, even though they gave permission
for McNair's agent to talk with the Baltimore Ravens.

Agent Bus Cook said Sunday the team was considering releasing
McNair or trading him to the Ravens, with something possibly worked
out by Monday.

General manager Floyd Reese said a few hours later the Ravens
indeed had discussed a trade with Tennessee. But the Ravens' offer
was insufficient, and Reese said the talks died right there.

"Steve's a Tennessee Titan. That has not changed," Ravens
general manager Ozzie Newsome said.

Asked about McNair being released within hours, the Titans
general manager had a short answer.

"That's not going to happen, no," Reese said.

The Titans drafted Texas quarterback Vince Young with the No. 3
overall pick Saturday as McNair's successor, and they already were
looking for a way to reduce or shed the $23.46 million salary cap
number the 2003 co-MVP is scheduled to count for in 2006.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher had called trade and release talks
"unlikely." Baltimore coach Brian Billick said simply: "Stay
tuned."

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance earlier this month
when the Titans barred McNair from working out on their property,
fearing an injury would make them liable for his entire salary-cap
number. They are trying to schedule an expedited hearing before an
arbitrator, but Cook said the grievance asked for McNair's release.

Talks on reworking McNair's deal have been nonexistent, but
Reese said they now have time to discuss it with the conclusion of
the draft.

"Now I think it'll be everybody's duty to sit down and see if
we can get something done. I don't know if we can," he said.

The Titans hold all the leverage in this situation unless an
arbitrator rules in McNair's favor and grants his release. McNair
is under contract for 2006 at a salary of $9 million. That takes
away incentive for teams to offer much in a trade.

Tennessee won't need salary cap relief until July when it's time
to start signing Young and the other nine draft picks.

"I don't know how much it does to get someone released in
August," Reese said. "Maybe it does."

The last time the Titans had a pay-cut showdown with a top
player was in 2004 with running back Eddie George, the franchise's
all-time leading rusher. He finally asked for, and received, his
release a week before training camps opened in July.

Fisher said this situation is difficult considering all McNair
has meant to the franchise, leading them to their only Super Bowl
appearance and two AFC championship games.

"Steve has been around long enough to understand that you have
to separate the business side from everything else. Steve has
confidence in his abilities. Steve is not finished playing. He's
determined to prove that he can play and play at a very high
level," Fisher said.

"That's what he's living on right now, and the hope that this
thing gets resolved."