NASHVILLE, TN, Aug. 3, 2004 -- In an afternoon press conference, Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher announced that linebacker Peter Sirmon will likely miss the entire season after a partial tear to his ACL during practice on Monday afternoon.
“In all likelihood right now, the percentages are pretty high that he will require reconstructive surgery,” said Fisher. “This is a very difficult loss for our defense”
Sirmon experienced the non-contact injury as he was checking the defense over as the ball was snapped. Titans doctors initially suspected an MCL sprain after he experienced a great deal of swelling. An MRI Tuesday morning revealed that the ACL was partially torn. Sirmon will get a second opinion on Monday.
“It felt like something was definitely wrong when I first did it,” Sirmon said. “It was a check-down, and I went up to the line to check off on them and I broke down like I do 34 times a day and then it went.”
Sirmon started 14 games last season at left outside linebacker and was second on the team with 141 tackles. Sirmon, who called the plays for the defense on the field, was extremely valuable for his leadership on the field, according to Fisher.
“Pete had a great offseason,” Fisher said. “He was emerging as one of our leaders and Rocky Boiman will now step up into his place.”
Boiman, who is expected to join third-year linebacker Rocky Calmus and Bulluck in the starting lineup, has played in all 32 games as a Titan, making three starts, two for Sirmon during 2003. Last season, Boiman emerged as a defensive playmaker, totaling 55 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a 60-yard touchdown at Pittsburgh. Boiman saw most of his action on special teams during his first two seasons.
“It’s very unfortunate what happened to Pete,” said Boiman. “This guy was looking at a possible Pro Bowl season. It’s very unfortunate, but I have a job to do and if I’m called to step in, that is what I’m going to do. However my job description changes, I’ll be ready for it.”
Despite the felt loss for Sirmon, All-Pro linebacker Keith Bulluck knows that the team will move on in the talented hands of Boiman.
“I’m sure he has been waiting to step in,” said Bulluck. “The coaches have been trying to find a way to get him on the field and unfortunately it comes at such a time like this. He has no choice.”
Besides Boiman, Fisher expects second-year linebackers Jordan Kramer and Ray Wells to compete for backup playing time. The Titans, who will keep close tabs on the waiver wire, also drafted linebacker Rob Reynolds out of Ohio State in the fifth round of the 2004 NFL Draft.