Thornton: Colts a "Bitter-Sweet Memory"

Colts linebacker David Thornton expressed some disappointment over Indianapolis not re-signing him, but said it would be a "bitter-sweet memory" because of all the good things that he experienced as a Colt.

David Thornton's press conference highlights following the announcement that he had agreed to terms with the Tennessee Titans on a 5-year contract...

(on why he decided to sign with the Titans)

Well, there were a lot of teams that were actually on my list, but the Titans were one of the first ones to get in touch with me.  I think they made me a priority early on, and once I got here, I very much felt welcome once I came through the door.  Coach Fisher, Mr. (Marcus) Robertson, he did a great job of welcoming me in, picking me up from the airport and just welcoming me to the Titans way of doing things.  Once I sat down and met the linebackers coach, Coach McGinnis, and the defensive coordinator – they showed me how they wanted to use me here and how I could be successful in these schemes – I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of the Titans way of doing things here. 

(on how much he is looking forward to playing Peyton Manning)

Well, you know, it's going to be an interesting battle.  I have so much respect for the Colts.  Peyton Manning and those guys do a great job every week.  I had a lot of fun while I was there, but it's going to be a fun match-up when I get to go there or they come down here to Nashville.

(on coming to the Titans from the Colts, who have been to the playoffs the last four years)

Yeah, we probably do have some work to do.  At the same time, I've been in the same situation in Indianapolis.  My first year there as a rookie was Coach Dungy's first year.  We were rebuilding the defense, putting in a whole new scheme, and I was very much an integral part of that.  Once guys really understood what it meant to be successful in the defense and being accountable, I think we got things rolling in the right direction.  I'm looking forward to being a part of the defensive scheme here with Mr. (Jim) Schwartz and Coach Fisher and finding ways to be successful.  Whatever that requires me to do, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help this team win.

(on what he brings to the team)

I think you can look forward to some speed, some playmaking ability.  I'm definitely going to go out there and give you 100 percent effort, and I think that's what they're asking me to do.  Wherever they want me to play, I'm up for it.  Inside, outside, whatever it is, I'm just looking forward to getting on the field and playing football for the Titans.

(on the kind of leadership role he had with the Colts and what he expects with the Titans in that role)

As a defensive captain for the past two years, I think the guys took a lot of respect for how I carried myself on and off the field.  I'm not a big rah-rah guy.  I wasn't there, and I probably won't be here.  But what I do do is I go out and I practice hard every day.  I try to live by example, and I try to influence guys to make the right decision and do the right things on and off the field.  I think that's probably something that can be added here.  It's definitely a young team, so guys can look for some veteran leadership, to come in and show guys how to practice every day, to be accountable, to show up on time, to practice with 100 percent effort, know your job, and just focus every week.

(on the difficulty of going to a divisional rival)

Actually, it wasn't too hard of a decision to make.  I can't really say it was an "enemy."  I've got some teammates on this team – Michael Waddell is a friend of mine.  It's competition.  Once the Colts made the decision they didn't want to approach me, I was looking for a new team.  The Titans were the first ones to bring me in.  I came here, and like I said, I felt very welcome.  I felt very comfortable with the city.  The situation worked out well, and I'm looking forward to being a winner here.

(on if he was surprised the Colts didn't make more of an effort to re-sign him)

I can't really say I'm too surprised.  I was a little disappointed, and it's a bitter-sweet memory.  But that's definitely in the past.  I learned so much in my four years there with Coach Dungy.  I have a great deal of respect for him as a coach.  He taught me a lot about how to be a father, how to be a player, how to be a professional.  The standards they have set there are so high, and there's so much I can retain from the organization.  But I'm looking forward to obtaining the present right now and moving on to the future.

(on how familiar he is with the Titans personnel)

Well, I'm not super familiar.  I'm definitely going to get the roster and do my research on the guys on the team and just find out exactly where they come from and try to build some relationships with them as soon as they get in.  But Michael Waddell and I had the chance to play two years together at Carolina.  He's very familiar with my story.  I was a walk-on for four years, earned a scholarship in my last year, got a chance to start, and pretty much just prepared myself to run away with that opportunity.  So Michael is excited.  He's thrilled.  I talked to him earlier today.  He's looking forward to me getting back to Nashville as soon as possible so hopefully we continue to build on our relationship that we had at Carolina together.

(on whether the Titans are still a "big deal" for the Colts)

Clearly.  Coach Dungy, the whole Colts organization has a great deal of respect for Coach Fisher.  I told him earlier it was one of the teams that we always have to expect the unexpected.  You never know what's going to happen.  Steve McNair has always been a great competitor.  He's going to battle you all the way to the end.  They have outstanding running backs here.  We just knew as a Colts organization that it was always going to be a dog fight.  But now I'm looking forward to a new day, of going and actually preparing against them, and hopefully there's some things I've learned that can help this team win when we go out and play the Colts.

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