Most football players don’t believe they have fully recovered from an injury until they take that first shot.
Kenny Britt is no different. Sort of.
It was his jump shot that convinced him everything finally was all right.
The moment came a couple weeks before the start of the current training camp, roughly five blocks from his childhood home in New Jersey. At last, the Tennessee Titans wide receiver felt the knee injury, which cut short his 2011 season and continued to plague him all last year, was behind him for good.
“I was playing basketball,” he said. “It was the first time I played basketball since my injury and that’s a sport that’s more stop-and-go than anything. … I had no problems with that. I had no problems jumping. I had no problems landing on the blacktop. We played a couple games. My knee didn’t swell up. It didn’t bother me when I was playing.”
With Britt, of course, there is no slam dunk in terms of his health or his production.
When the 2009 first-round draft pick is at his best he puts up numbers and makes plays that compare with the best receivers in the game. He had back-to-back contests with more than 130 yards early in 2011, had 225 yards and three touchdowns in a single game in 2010 and caught a game-winning, 10-yard touchdown pass as time expired against Arizona in 2009.
Then again, with one league-ordered suspension (one game in 2012) already on his record, he is one off-the-field misstep from a longer stay on the sideline. Plus, the only season in which he didn’t miss at least one game to an injury was his first.
“Guaranteed, there is nobody in this league that wouldn’t want to be on the field and play in every single game,” he said. “You never know when this game is going to end for you. I just want to be on the field, doing what I can do for this team for as long as I can.”
To that end, he said he has taken steps to limit a reoccurrence of the knee and hamstring injuries he now has overcome not to mention reduce the possibility of any similar issue.
“I’m going through things that I took for granted last year, like extra warm-ups before I go outside,” he said. “I’ve actually been doing things with my legs that I didn’t usually do. It’s to keep my leg strength to the max so I won’t get no injuries or have any setbacks.
“Actually, I’m nowhere close to being in the training room.”
Sunday, though, he was not on the field either. He was one of several players – fellow wide receiver Marc Mariani and defensive end Ropati Pitoatua were two others – who were held out of the day’s workout because of recent injury history.
“We knew [he was one of] the guys we were going to watch for when it was time to give him a break and cut back on him,” coach Mike Munchak said. “… Kenny has been doing well.”
The thinking is that an occasional rest limits the possibility of a setback.
“It’s been a long journey for me,” Britt said. “That’s starting with the injury and the rehab process. … It brings you to a point where [you wonder] can you get back to yourself?
“…Coming into this offseason makes me feel so much better because I haven’t had no issues, I’ve been training harder and I won’t have no setbacks.”
• Chance Warmack remains one of two first-round picks from this year’s draft who has yet to sign a contract. The 10th overall pick and projected starter at right guard has missed the first four days of on-the-field work.
“There’s nothing like this competition,” Munchak said. “The stuff that went on [Sunday] with the offensive line versus the defense is hard to make up. We know he’ll be here at some point. We’ll just have to wait until it comes.”
• Sunday’s workout was the first in full pads and one of the most spirited moments came early in a live blocking contest when rookie wide receiver Justin Hunter was pitted against rookie cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson.
“We wanted to get some rookie on rookie there and [players on defense] have been teasing Justin,” Munchak said. “… It was fun to watch.”
Wreh-Wilson easily got the better of the encounter.
• Monday is a day off for the players.