- Associated Press - Monday, August 20, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans have picked Jake Locker as their starter over veteran Matt Hasselbeck, choosing to wait no further to play the quarterback they drafted in 2011 for their future.

Coach Mike Munchak announced the decision after practice Monday, saying Locker’s time is now in giving the Titans their best chance to win the AFC South.

The Titans had let the quarterbacks compete through the offseason with each starting a game each this preseason.

Munchak says Hasselbeck was way ahead of Locker last season. But Locker caught up and won the job with his ability to move the team and score points.

The eighth pick overall in 2011. He will play 40 to 50 snaps Thursday night against Arizona with three weeks to prep for the opener Sept. 9 against New England.

Tannehill is Dolphins’ starter

DAVIE, FLA. — With his NFL debut still more than two weeks away, Ryan Tannehill can already boast of an achievement unprecedented among Miami Dolphins quarterbacks: He won a starting job in his first training camp.

New coach Joe Philbin gave Tannehill the job Monday, meaning the Dolphins will have a rookie QB start a season opener for the first time when they play at Houston on Sept. 9.

Not even Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino or Bob Griese started the first game of their rookie season. Tannehill beat out Matt Moore, who started the final 12 games last year.

Training camp began with a three-way competition at quarterback, but veteran David Garrard fell out of contention when he underwent minor knee surgery Aug. 11.

Merriman released by Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It’s lights out for Shawne Merriman in Buffalo after the Bills cut the one-time star pass-rusher Monday.

General manager Buddy Nix said Merriman’s health wasn’t an issue and added he made the move now to provide the former Maryland standout a better chance to sign with another team.

The move does allow the Bills to save a portion of the $4 million salary Merriman, a three-time Pro Bowler, was scheduled to make in the final year of his contract.

Colts’ Collie has concussion

INDIANAPOLIS — Colts receiver Austin Collie has now been diagnosed with at least his third concussion in less than 22 months.

Coach Chuck Pagano says Collie returned to the team complex Monday and “felt good,” but the team would not use him again until he was cleared to play by the team’s medical staff.

Collie missed seven of the final eight regular-season games in 2010 season after sustaining two other concussions. That appears to be the most significant injury Indianapolis took in Sunday night’s 26-24 loss at Pittsburgh.

Giants’ Nicks practicing again

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks practiced for basically the first time since the Super Bowl champions opened training camp in late July.

Nicks was taken off the physically unable to perform list last week and was limited until Monday’s practice. The four-year veteran made a nice catch against cornerback Corey Webster in a seven-on-seven drill and caught a touchdown on a fade pattern during a late two-minute drill.

Neither Nicks nor coach Tom Coughlin would speculate whether Nicks would play in either of the Giants’ final two preseason games. Nicks broke his right foot during an organized team activity about three months ago.

• While they understand the public’s concern over what might be perceived as an apparent hazing incident involving Prince Amukamara, several Giants insist that throwing the second-year cornerback into a tub of ice water was a football tradition and not bullying. Amukamara and Jason Pierre-Paul, the Pro Bowl defensive end who threw him into the metal ice tub, maintained Monday that they are friends and there was nothing personal involved.

Hali suspended one game

KANSAS CITY, MO. — The NFL suspended Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali of the Kansas City Chiefs for the season opener against Atlanta for violating its policy on substance abuse. Hali will miss the Sept. 9 game against the Falcons and be fined an additional game check.

He will be eligible to return the following day and still is allowed to participate in preseason practices and games. Hali long ago established himself as the Chiefs’ best pass rusher.

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