Cornerback close to returning, adding needed depth for Titans

Monday, August 9, 2010 at 11:22pm

A battered body has been good for Tye Hill’s mind.

Sidelined for more than a week by a hamstring injury, which flared early in the Tennessee Titans’ first training camp practice of the season, the free agent cornerback took a significant step toward total health Monday when he participated in individual drills with the rest of the team.

“I’m still watching every play – I’m probably watching more now than if I was actually practicing,” Hill said. “… Of course you’re going to fall behind when you’re not in practice. At the same time I don’t feel like I’m losing any reps. I feel like I’m gaining mental reps.”

Exactly when he will resume full physical activity is undetermined. Even if it is this week, it seems obvious that he will not play in Saturday’s preseason opener at Seattle.

Whenever it happens, though, his return will be welcomed.

No position thus far has been pushed to the limit more than cornerback. There have been numerous days when the Titans have had just four at that spot for an entire practice, as was the case late last week when Cortland Finnegan was held out because of soreness..

“Our numbers are down,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “(Hill) came back for individual and is closer to coming back. With (Finnegan) being down for a couple of days and resting and worrying about the fatigue and then chain reactions impact the position.”

Hill was signed at the end of March with the idea that he could compete for a starting job. Yet he barely has gotten started in that quest.

The hamstring injury first occurred during organized team activities in June and cost him valuable time with the defense. Then he reaggravated it at the start of camp.

“It’s very frustrating because I felt like I did everything in my power over those few weeks off to make sure I’d come back and wouldn’t have this problem,” he said. “To come back and still be injured, it was definitely frustrating.”

Yet he has done what he could to keep his mind right.

“There won’t be any excuses for me when I come back to play because I feel like I’m grasping the playbook pretty well,” he said. “I’m just seeing everything unfold. … I’m just ready to play football.”