Put a reporter's digital recorder or notebook in front of Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt and he'll almost always say the right thing.
Take last spring's caravan stop at Academy Sports, for instance. Britt charmingly defused concerns about his seven run-ins with the law since becoming the team's 2009 first-round draft pick by saying, "My wife's had me on lockdown ever since the wedding. I'm all business now."
Put him on the field during those moments his knees are healthy and he'll almost always do the right thing, as well. Despite missing most of last season with a knee injury, Britt's career stats are 101 catches for 1,765 yards and 15 touchdowns.
But it's those times when he is off the field, out of the spotlight and left to his own bad decisions that may end his 2012 season in the Music City before it begins.
Arrested at 3:30 last Friday morning outside Fort Campbell, the Rutgers University product almost certainly will face a lengthy suspension from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, whether or not the Titans cut him loose before that.
After all, less than a year ago the Commish summoned Britt to NFL headquarters to discuss his past mistakes.
Asked after those meetings what Goodell had said to him, Britt replied, "The only thing he actually told me was he better not see my face in that office no more."
Now Britt almost certainly will be forced to return to that office, and anything less than a four-game suspension would be stunning. Especially given a minimum of 27 incidents involving NFL players since the night the Super Bowl ended Feb. 5.
Men Behaving Badly isn't just a CBS sitcom, it's the NFL offseason.
Unfortunately for Britt, his eighth off-field issue is not all that's threatening his future with the Titans. It may not even be his biggest obstacle to remaining with the team.
Britt has had three knee surgeries since last September, when the right knee he shredded against the Broncos ended his season.
The third and newest of those operations was done on the left knee roughly a month ago. The most optimistic timetable for Britt's return is the regular-season opener against the New England Patriots inside LP Field.
In that sense, the DUI could actually become a blessing of sorts. Let Goodell suspend him for the first month of the season and those extra four weeks might guarantee his availability from that point forward. Especially if the team can sign first-round draft pick Kendall Wright from Baylor before the season begins.
But there is nothing positive about Britt's behavior, which is beginning to resemble Pacman Jones in all the wrong ways. The severity of his legal troubles may not yet quite measure up to Make It Rainman, but the frequency has passed the former troubled Titan.
Nor did Britt arrive with Pacman's obvious baggage -- rough, tough childhood, massive posse, a chip on his shoulder to match his seemingly oversized helmet.
Consider this Britt quote from the caravan regarding marriage and parenthood: "We had a baby girl last summer, so it felt like we were a family even before the wedding. I grew up with a mother and father, and this is what I've wanted my whole life."
Point is -- as Britt's easy, wide smile so often suggests -- he isn't a young man who grew up unloved or uncared for, forced to fend for himself at an early age, the joy of his later success lessened by money-sucking leeches.
Read the words again. His words. "I grew up with a mother and father. ... This is what I've wanted my whole life."
Britt isn't Pac-kid or Pacman Lite. He's an immature, spoiled brat.
And on this week more than most weeks -- the horror of Aurora, Colo., still hard to grasp, the tragedy of the Penn State sex-abuse scandal unabated -- it's difficult to defend spoiled brats.
Nor should the Titans.
It's time for the organization to make the best deal possible, then move on with those who appreciate the extraordinary opportunities they've been given.
It's time for Britt to become someone else's problem.
Contact Mark Wiedmer@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6273.
Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...
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