Matt Hasselbeck knew that when the Tennessee Titans were chasing Peyton Manning, there were no assurances as to what his own future would hold.
But now that Manning has made his decision, Hasselbeck is happy to be able to finish what he began in Tennessee last season.
“I think for me there was no guarantee that I was gonna be back here. If Peyton Manning had decided to come to Tennessee, I would not be playing for the Titans next year, and that would have been unfortunate,” said Hasselbeck, who signed as a free agent last year. “I haven't been here long, but me and my family have kind of fallen in love with Nashville. It's wonderful. It kind of has that reputation. Going back to last year when we were deciding which team to go to, knowing that Mike Reinfeldt, Ruston Webster and Lake Dawson were the guys in the front office, and another positive was knowing that Jake Locker was the quarterback of the future, and what type of guy he was.
“The thing that was unknown to me was Mike Munchak, and my first conversation with him kind of sold me on him philosophically.”
Hasselbeck said he appreciated that Titans coaches and front office staff were honest with him during Tennessee's failed chase of Manning.
“All I can go was that they were being honest with me in the process and I think that's all you can really ask for. Teams can always pursue someone in free agency,” Hasselbeck said. “That can happen on any team, anywhere, at any time. I guess for me at the end of the day, with the Peyton thing, I get it, but I'm excited that I get a chance to finish what we've started here. And I'm very confident in my ability to get it done as a quarterback. I think, bottom line, we're just happy we're getting a chance to stay in Nashville.”
He said he understood the Titans' pursuit of Manning, one that was largely fueled by owner Bud Adams.
“He's probably one of the top five quarterbacks to ever play the game. I've got a ton of respect for him that way, and with Tennessee being rumored I expected that with him being who he is. I get it. It wasn't a shock to me,” Hasselbeck said.
Hasselbeck added that he remained confident in his own abilities throughout the entire situation, and that he wouldn't change his decision on joining the Titans.
“Sure, as a competitor you feel, 'Hey, you get that – I don't even know what you call it, but I got this,' I'm a competitor,” he said. “I've been fortunate to play a long time, and I feel like we've got a good thing going here in Tennessee. I guess I would just say, if I could choose again, and I had to make the choice again this year, like I did last year, I would still choose to be in Tennessee.
“I like what we've got going. I really like the offensive line. The skill guys are very talented. I like the coaching staff. I like the division we're in. I like everything about it. I think in a sense, as a competitor, you're competitive in all these situations, and this is no different.”