Former Titan Long still listed as criticalPassenger in car crash is released
By PAUL KUHARSKY • Staff Writer • January 23, 2008
Former Titans defensive tackle Rien Long remained in critical condition Tuesday night after a single-car crash late Monday, a Vanderbilt University Medical Center official said.
Earlier in the day, a different hospital spokesperson said Long was "still critical, but they have him stable."
Long's family arrived in Nashville on Tuesday evening and had not yet decided whether to release any information about his condition.
According to Metro Police, Long drove his 2005 Ford Mustang from downtown onto Interstate 40 from the Broadway entrance ramp "at a high rate of speed."
"As the Mustang approached the bottom of the ramp, it went into a clockwise slide, left the roadway, traveled up an embankment, and collided with a rock wall on the driver's side," according to news release from police. "The car then rolled over and fell back to the roadway, landing on its roof."
Passenger Wesley Stephens, who played football at McGavock and Middle Tennessee State as well as for the Nashville Kats, suffered noncritical injuries and was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon.
Spokesman Don Aaron said police did not know whether alcohol was involved.
"Neither occupant was interviewed in detail in the hours after the crash due to the receipt of medical treatment," he said. "All of our questions have not yet been answered."
Metro's fatal-crash team was called on to investigate the wreck because the initial word from medical personnel was that the injuries could be life-threatening.
Long, 26, was a fourth-round draft pick in 2003 by the Titans out of Washington State, where he won the Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior pass rusher.
An Achilles injury suffered in training camp cost him the 2006 season and he suffered setbacks in recovery, including a staph infection he later said doctors had told him put him at risk of losing his lower leg.
Unable to get back to form in 2007, he needed knee surgery Aug. 27. The Titans placed him on injured reserve Sept. 1 and terminated his contract following an injury settlement Sept. 6.
The team issued a statement:
"We are aware of Rien's accident and several members of the organization visited him (Monday) night. We would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to Rien and his family during this difficult time. Any questions about his condition will be handled by the hospital and Rien's family."
Reach Paul Kuharsky at 615-259-8024 or firstname.lastname@example.org