Titans center Mawae likely will hit open market

The Titans kept veteran guard Eugene Amano off the free-agent market, but they don’t appear headed in the same direction with center Kevin Mawae.

NFL.com senior writer Steve Wyche reported on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access on Tuesday that Mawae was told to expect to hit the open market when free agency starts March 5. Mawae would like to return to Tennessee, according to Wyche, and NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora suggests that if the eight-time Pro Bowl pick is looking for more than what Matt Birk and Jeff Saturday received in contracts last offseason, it’s likely he’ll hit the market.

Mawae’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, acknowledged to The Tennessean on Wednesday that the chances of his client returning to the team in 2010 were “diminished” after the five-year, $26.25 million contract given to Amano, and he’s convinced after talking to Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt that a new deal won’t be reached before the start of free agency.

“All things being equal, he’d love to be back,”’ Bartelstein said. “But he is a Pro Bowl center still, one of the top centers in the league, and anywhere he’s going to go, he is going to play and be the starter. And I think the Titans have a young guy there they are trying to bring along and they just made a big investment in Amano. So I am not sure that the role Kevin would have as a Titan is worthy of what Kevin is as a player right now.”

Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean suggests the Titans are ready to turn the center position over to Leroy Harris, who started two of 15 games in his third season.

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