(Courtesy of tndotcom)
During a week-long suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt took part in a regimen that could be considered as strenuous as a practice week for most teams.
In the mornings, Britt completed lifting sessions as part of his rehabilitation process from three knee surgeries over the past year. He also ran routes at a local Nashville private school, completing drills with former Titans’ quarterback Neil O’Donnell, wide receiver Derrick Mason and defensive back Nick Harper.
“There were no off days for me,” Britt said. “I finally got the feel of being in football instead of just running routes on air or doing cone drills.”
On Wednesday, Britt practiced with his teammates for the first time since tearing two ligaments in his right knee last September vs. the Broncos. At the time, Britt led the AFC in catches and receiving yards. While speaking with reporters outside his locker, the oft-injured Britt proclaimed that he’s never been in better shape. Still, Britt said he felt rigid at times running routes in Wednesday’s practice and had other kinks to work out.
“I felt like a freshman in college just trying to get my eyes back in knowing where the safety is,” Britt said. “Today, it was hard just reading the right coverages and running the right routes at the right depth.”
While Jake Locker appeared in five games in his rookie season in 2011, the second-year quarterback didn’t make his first appearance with the Titans until Britt went down with the season-ending injury. Locker hopes to develop a rapport with Britt this week in practice.
“I’m not worried about not being on the same page,” Locker said. “Kenny is a difference-maker. When he’s at his best, he’s one of the best in the league. He’s dangerous once he has the ball in his hands. He breaks tackles, makes guys miss and can turn short, easy throws into long, explosive plays.”
Titans coach Mike Munchak expects Britt to receive 15 to 25 snaps in Sunday’s game at San Diego. The score and tempo of the game could dictate Britt’s playing time.
“If it’s a running game, he probably won’t play much,” Munchak said. “We’re not going to have him out there, going in the box and blocking.”
Britt prepared for his return with a boot-camp like atmosphere at Franklin Road Academy, a private school located about 10 miles south of the Titans’ practice facility. The fourth-year receiver said he ran every route in the route tree while facing coverage from Harper. When asked if Harper was able to apply pressure with his hands, Britt jokingly responded “he tried.” O’Donnell and Mason were teammates with the Titans from 1999-2003. Harper played three seasons in Tennessee from 2007-2009.
“He (O’Donnell) had a great tempo for me. He had me really tired,” Britt said. “He had my own two-minute drills a couple times. They let me know that football doesn’t come easy -- that you have to love this sport.”
Locker expected to start vs. Chargers: Though limited by a sore non-throwing shoulder, Locker said he felt great during Wednesday’s practice. Barring a setback, Locker will start at San Diego.
“I was able to do everything I wanted,” Locker said. “I probably could have done more.”
Locker plans on increasing his practice reps on Thursday. The soreness in Locker’s left shoulder has decreased enough that he might not even need to wear a brace against the Chargers. The former University of Washington quarterback isn’t worried that the injury will limit his ability to scramble.
“I can control a lot when I get out of the pocket. I can control when I get down and those sorts of things,” Locker said. “I don’t see that being a concern.”
McCarthy misses practice: Linebacker Colin McCarthy missed Wednesday’s practice with a sprained right ankle. He is considered questionable for Sunday’s game, Munchak said. If McCarthy is out, veteran Will Witherspoon will likely start at middle linebacker, and rookie Zach Brown will probably start at weakside linebacker.
Offensive guard Leroy Harris (knee), wide receiver Nate Washington (calf), offensive tackle Michael Otto (finger/knee) and running back Javon Ringer (elbow) didn’t practice. Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks (knee) was limited by the injury.
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