The Tennessee Titans rookies are getting a quick taste of life in the NFL during the organized team activities and are trying to absorb as much as possible in the process.
Rookie wide receiver Kenny Britt, who sat out most of Thursday’s work after tweaking his right hamstring, said he is hopeful of learning by watching even when he isn’t learning by doing.
“I’m happy and excited to be here. All the veterans are helping me in any way possible,” said Britt, the Titans first-round pick. “That’s what I like about this whole team and this whole atmosphere here in Tennessee.
“My head is spinning every second of the day. When I wake up, the first thing I think about is the playbook and what I need to do. [I’m trying to] watch the veterans and take all their advice and study the playbook 24/7.”
Titans coach Jeff Fisher said that is to be expected since the rookies are plenty behind the veterans in terms of their knowledge of the offense.
“They’re swimming a little bit. We got most of them in the normal part of practice, as opposed to the session at the end,” Fisher said.
Even with their limited knowledge right now, the big-play potential of Britt and tight end Jared Cook has already caught the eye of starting quarterback Kerry Collins.
“They definitely have that big-play potential,” Collins said. “They’re the kind of guys that can make plays and with their size and speed can pose problems for defenses I think we’ll be more threatening because of their presence, and I think we all are excited about that.”
Tight end Alge Crumpler, who visited quarterback Michael Vick while he was incarcerated on federal dogfighting charges last year, said he is happy his former Atlanta Falcons teammate was released from prison on Wednesday.
Crumpler says he hopes to speak with Vick sometime this weekend and believes the quarterback is deserving of a second chance in the NFL, once his gets his life back in order.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to talk to him this weekend. He’ll get a chance to settle down and see his family and go from there,” Crumpler said. “I’m happy. This is one of his first steps in coming back.
“That’s what this country is all about, is giving somebody a second chance. As long as he shows the right amount of contrition and does the things that he’s supposed to do, which I know he will, of course he deserves a second shot. But I’m more focused on Michael the person. I’m just concerned that all his affairs are in order, that things are good with him and his family, so that when the chance comes for him to come back, then hopefully, he can focus on that.”
Offensive lineman Peter Clifford, trying to secure a backup spot with the Titans, suffered a torn ACL in Tuesday’s workout and will be scheduled for surgery next week.
“Pete Clifford tore his ACL on Tuesday, in the team period. We’re going to take the normal course of action, let him settle down, and then he’ll have surgery in a week to 10 days,” Fisher said.
In addition to Clifford, Jevon Kearse is still recovering from knee surgery, but could be ready to return for the Titans’ June OTAs.
Also, center Kevin Mawae (elbow) remains out, while Dave Ball (back) was also out. Receivers Lavelle Hawkins and Britt and running back LenDale White were all limited on Thursday.
Kicker Rob Bironas was excused for personal reasons Thursday.
During a special teams drill, linebacker Ryan Fowler and Matthew Mulligan dropped their helmets and squared off NHL style before being separated. Once the two had been separated, Mulligan continued to yell at linebacker Colin Allred, who was shouting at him over the fight.
Mulligan yelled at Allred, “He punched me in the gut. You don’t think I’m gonna take that [expletive]. I don’t think so, baby.”
After that, the phrase “I don’t think so, baby” was heard several times during the remainder of practice.
Also, tackle David Stewart and defensive end Larry Birdine exchanged punches in a brief skirmish.
White House visit
Wide receiver Nate Washington was excused from practice on Thursday, so he could accompany his former Pittsburgh Steelers teammates to the White House for a meet and greet with President Barack Obama.
“Nate is on his way to Washington, D.C., with his former teammates, to be honored by the President,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.