|National Football League|
Britt back with Titans after injury, suspension
By TERESA M. WALKER
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Kenny Britt is on the field once again for the Tennessee Titans, back both from a torn right ACL and three different knee surgeries and a one-game suspension by the NFL.
How much he helps remains to be seen.
Britt tore both his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament early in the Titans' third game last season. He had little practice time with Matt Hasselbeck due to the NFL lockout. Now Jake Locker's the starting quarterback, and Britt has had even less practice time with him.
"We've got two great quarterbacks," Britt said Wednesday after his first practice since tearing his knee up Sept. 25, 2011. "They're going to make me look good so hopefully I can do the same thing for them, and today was a great practice for both quarterbacks. I was out there with both of them and it felt good."
Locker was limited in practice Wednesday like Britt as the quarterback recovers from an injured left shoulder that knocked him out of Tennessee's opening 34-13 loss to New England. But Locker said he's feeling much better after a couple days of treatment, and he expects to play Sunday when the Titans (0-1) visit San Diego (1-0). He is looking forward to having Britt on the field.
"Kenny's a difference-maker," Locker said. "When he's at his best, he's probably one of the best in the league. It's always nice to have those guys on your side."
Britt would have been back already if not for a July 20 arrest at the Fort Campbell Army post on the Kentucky-Tennessee border that earned him his second visit to the NFL office in New York and a one-game suspension. It was just the latest drama for the receiver since the Titans drafted him in the first round in 2009 out of Rutgers.
When he was arrested July 20 around 3:30 a.m. for driving under the influence, it was the eighth incident with police for Britt, who visited with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in August 2011 and escaped punishment then.
On the field, every time Britt looks like he's ready to blossom into one of the NFL's top receivers, he has gotten hurt.
The last time the Titans visited San Diego on Oct. 31, 2010, Britt strained his right hamstring in the first quarter and missed four games. He still finished with a team-high nine TD catches.
Britt started 2011 with 17 catches for 289 yards and three touchdowns before going down against Denver on Sept. 25, tearing both the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. That prompted the first of three surgeries since then, the second to relieve swelling in his right knee in May. Just as he picked up his running in late June, Britt had swelling in his left knee, leading to a third surgery.
That leaves the Titans eager to use Britt but determined to make sure the receiver is ready physically and mentally.
"When you have a great player, I mean you want to use him badly," Titans coach Mike Munchak said. "But we have to be smart in how we do that and the ways he can help us, and that's what we'll hopefully do on Sunday."
The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Britt said he's busy looking for the safety and remembering how to plant his feet and run the right pass routes. He has 101 catches for 1,765 yards with 15 touchdowns in 31 games played in his career, and he ranks seventh in the NFL averaging 17.5-yards per catch.
"You have to be aware of where he's at all the time," San Diego coach Norv Turner said of Britt.
The Titans activated Britt off the physically unable to perform list Aug. 28 but his suspension started at the deadline for the final roster cuts Sept. 1. So Britt spent his week away from the team working out at a local high school with former NFL quarterback Neil O'Donnell, recently retired receiver Derrick Mason and former Titans cornerback Nick Harper.
O'Donnell even brought a pair of shoulder pads for Britt to wear while throwing to the receiver, and Britt credited the trio with working him hard to help him start getting back into football shape.
"They let me know football doesn't come easy," Britt said. "You have to love this sport to be in it."
Notes: Titans MLB Colin McCarthy (right ankle) remained in a walking boot Wednesday and did not practice. Munchak said it would be hard for McCarthy to play against the Chargers. ... RB Javon Ringer remained in the hospital receiving antibiotics for an infection in his left elbow. ... DT Sen'Derrick Marks (right knee) returned to practice, though RG Leroy Harris (right knee) was given the day off for rest. WR Nate Washington (bruised leg) did not practice but is expected back Thursday.
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Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker
Updated September 12, 2012