Titans OTA’s are missing some very important Titans with Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, AJ Brown and Kevin Byard all absent from Thursday’s voluntary workout in Nashville.
The NFLPA has made a major push this year to emphasize the “voluntary” part of the work this time of the year. Some teams have had their entire roster say they are boycotting them, while the Titans players put a statement saying they support players who do or do not show up.
Most of the veterans were no shows on Thursday. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has always emphasized having players who “love ball” and are accountable to each other and put the team first, but he was also player and understands why some chose not to attend, “They have to make the best decision for them and their own personal situation. I’ve gone thru that as a player, was a part of them and chose not to be a part of them at times.”
Quarterbacks Deshon Kizer, Logan Woodside, tight end Anthony Firkser and safety Amani Hooker are a few of the veterans who elected to be at St. Thomas Sports Park. Hooker and Firkser have a lot at stake, both are expected to take on larger roles this year.
“For me, we’ve got a lot of new guys coming in.” Hooker said, “I just wanted to make sure I was here around the coaching staff, here around the players just making sure that. For me, I just like being around here.”
A group that was well represented was the Titans 2020 draft class. That group lost OTA’s and mini-camp because of Covid-19 and virtually all of them were in attendance Thursday.
For 2020 2nd round pick Kristian Fulton it was not a difficult decision, “I mean if you’re healthy I think you should definitely attend OTA’s. It’s really a learning period, that’s really something we didn’t get last year and just going thru my first OTA’s, my first real off-season in the NFL. I see that it is very helpful.”
The Titans did not get much from last years’ class with many of those players struggling through injuries and 1st round pick Isaiah Wilson already out of the league. For that group it is a chance to get something, some time, coaching back that they missed out on.
Vrabel said the transition from year one to two for players is often though as the year of most growth, “We’re very excited about that more so than normal, because of what they maybe didn’t get last year from a football perspective, but also a player engagement perspective.”
OTA’s continue for the Titans into June when they hold mandatory Mini-Camp June 15th to 17th.