Titans tight end Craig Stevens opts to retire

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tight end Craig Stevens, a key blocker in the Tennessee Titans' revamped smashmouth scheme, has informed the team that he will retire, it was announced Tuesday.

"I think he just wants to be fair to the team and to his family," his agent, Ken Zuckerman, said. "He had some previous concussions, but he's fine. He just feels it's time. It's been a tough decision, but he's ready to go on with the next part of his life."

The 31-year-old Stevens, who has played with the Titans for eight seasons, had a $250,000 workout bonus tied to the one-year deal he signed in February. But he leaves behind a scheduled $1.15 million base salary and the potential for $500,000 more in roster bonuses.

Stevens, a third-round draft pick out of Cal in 2008, was the longest-tenured player with the Titans. He played in 109 games with 72 starts, catching 60 passes for 724 yards and six touchdowns.

"Craig is a consummate pro," Titans coach Mike Mularkey said in a statement. "I have enjoyed working with him as a position coach and as a head coach, and he was someone who could always be counted on. He worked at his craft and was always accountable for his play.

"... We are proud to call him a Titan, and he is always welcome around this team. We wish him and his family the best in his next chapter of life."

Stevens would have played a key role in supplementing a revamped offensive line that is blocking for two new running backs, DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. The Titans will likely call on Delanie Walker and Anthony Fasano, both more receiving tight ends, to work more as blockers in a two-tight end base set.

Phillip Supernaw ranked as the fourth tight end and could move up a notch, with Jerome Cunningham next in line.

The Titans have the No. 1 claim on waivers and could certainly use it as cuts are made around the league as they try to find a player equipped to replace Stevens and allow Walker and Fasano to stick more to their intended roles.