McNair stalemate drags on

OWINGS MILLS -- As the stalemate drags on between quarterback Steve McNair and the Titans, speculation is increasing that the Tennessee front office is engaging in stall tactics because of a fierce rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens.

"No, I can't imagine them wanting to do that," Ravens coach Brian Billick said with heavy sarcasm. "It's not for me to comment on why they do the things they do."

Because McNair failed his exit physical after the season, the Titans want him to take another physical before allowing him to resume workouts at their headquarters. However, McNair played in the Pro Bowl without incident.

"I'll leave it to a higher pay grade than me to figure out how someone can fail an exit physical, but be cleared to play in the Pro Bowl," Billick said. "I'm a little confused about that myself."

Titans coach Jeff Fisher insisted that playing in the Pro Bowl is voluntary and doesn't require a doctor's approval.

"Keep him under the contract he has, trade him, cut him or start trying to get a new deal done with the starting point being what's on the table from the Ravens," McNair's agent, Bus Cook complained to the Associated Press. "They don't want to do any of those things. You can't have your cake and eat it, too"

Former Titans receiver Derrick Mason said he hasn't needed to recruit McNair, who agreed to a five-year deal with Baltimore.

"My main concern was how are they treating you there?" Mason said. "For him to be treated the way he's been treated, I think is wrong. I was more concerned about that than anything else."

NOTES: Running back Jamal Lewis returned to practice after completing 500 hours of community service, the final legal obligation of his federal cocaine conspiracy plea bargain. "Jamal looked great," quarterback Kyle Boller said. "He looks like he's at ease. I threw him a couple of balls in the flats, and he's got smooth hands and got upfield." ... Center Mike Flynn (knee) didn't practice. … Cornerback Samari Rolle, who injured his elbow playing basketball with Plaxico Burress, didn't take part in team drills along with safety Ed Reed (undisclosed reason) … Running back Musa Smith, who ended last season on injured reserve with a recurring leg problem, took part in team drills. … … Linebacker Ray Lewis, who isn't practicing as he recovers from hamstring surgery, is scheduled to speak with reporters today. … The Ravens signed undrafted Utah wide receiver Travis LaTendresse.

Aaron Wilson writes for Ravens Insider and the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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