NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Titans lost their insurance policy for oft-injured Chris Brown when the NFL suspended running back Travis Henry for four weeks Monday for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

At least the suspension without pay, which began immediately, gives the Titans salary cap relief to find a replacement.

Coach Jeff Fisher said the Titans likely will make a roster move because the suspension leaves them with only Brown, rookie Damien Nash, a fifth-round draft pick out of Missouri deactivated for the first three games, and fullback Troy Fleming on the roster.

The Titans (1-2) host AFC South rival Indianapolis (3-0) on Sunday, and Henry won’t be back until Oct. 24, the Monday before the game with Oakland.

An option is promoting Jarrett Payton, the son of the late Walter Payton, from the practice squad. Another is Eddie George, Tennessee’s all-time leading rusher, who is available after spending last season with the Dallas Cowboys and worked the television broadcasts for the Titans’ preseason games.

“We’re going to look around and see if there are some other possibilities,” Fisher said.

Payton ranked second in NFL Europe averaging 5.6 yards per carry with the Amsterdam Admirals. He was hopeful the Titans will give him the opportunity.

“It takes a little while to learn the offense, so I’ve been here for a while. I understand the offense. I think I showed that in the preseason and all during camp, and I think they can trust me,” he said.

The NFL informed the Titans of the suspension Monday, a day after CBS reported Henry would be disciplined in its pregame show. Fisher declined to comment after a 31-27 loss in St. Louis. Henry called it a league issue and said, “No comment.”

Fisher said he didn’t have any details about the violation or the appeal process.

“Travis is extremely regretful for his actions, for his choices, for his decisions. It has affected him personally, his family and obviously has hurt this football team,” Fisher said.

Henry’s agent, Hadley Engelhard, did not respond to phone messages left Sunday and Monday.

The Titans swapped a third-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for Henry in July, just before training camp. Fisher said they asked league officials about Henry before the trade and were only told that the running back was in a league-mandated program.

“At that point, we felt that Travis was in the program and things were moving along well. Obviously, no one really knows what took place between now and then,” Fisher said. “What we do know is we’ll be without his services for the next four weeks.”

Asked if Henry’s participation in the program meant this suspension punished a second violation, Fisher said that was “not necessarily correct.”

Henry’s only legal problems in the NFL came while a rookie with Buffalo in 2001. He was sentenced to 100 hours of community service for having a consensual sexual encounter with a 15-year-old girl in New York.

While on suspension, Henry can attend meetings and work out at the team’s headquarters. Fisher said they expect Henry to comply with the league requirements including testing and counseling.

“My hope is that Travis Henry will be in the best football shape of his life in four weeks,” Fisher said.

Henry, the University of Tennessee’s all-time leading rusher, was a 2001 second-round pick by Buffalo, where he started 48 of 53 games in four seasons with the Bills, and he rushed for 3,849 yards with a 4.0-yard average and 67 touchdowns.

He demanded a trade after Willis McGahee took over as the starter and sat out the last five games of 2004 after tearing ligaments in his right ankle.

But Henry missed most of the preseason after hurting his left toe. He has 31 carries for 97 yards this season.

AP-ES-09-26-05 1909EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.