It has been eight full years since the Tennessee Titans last tasted the playoffs.
Unless they win Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the drought most likely will extend to nine seasons.
But a victory over the Jaguars would end all those years of frustration for the franchise and also reward some long-suffering Titans players who have never played in a playoff game despite logging lots of time in the NFL.
“Personally it would be a really big deal,” said outside linebacker Derrick Morgan, a first-round pick of the Titans in 2010, who is still awaiting his first game in the postseason. “That’s what you play for as a player, to get to the postseason and play for a Super Bowl. That’s what you play the game for. Just to get a chance to get into the dance would be a really big deal.”
Next to punter Brett Kern, who showed up in 2009 as a waiver claim, Morgan is the longest tenured Titan without any playoff experience. But he is not the only one.
Defensive linemen Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug both arrived in 2001, and have toiled for seven seasons now with a chance to finally reach the playoffs for the first time with a win Sunday.
“That’s what we always wanted to do is get in this position – win and in – but it’ll only feel good if we win. If we go and lay an egg this Sunday it won’t be a very good feeling,” Klug said. “It’s been a long time coming, but this is a position we want to be in. Obviously, it would be in a better position, but this is the best position we’ve been in since I’ve been here. We’re gonna be hungry and play to the best of our ability and hopefully get the W.”
Casey is eager to erase the stigma of losing surrounding the Titans as well.
“I’ve played a lot of years and never been in. You’ve got players around the league that have never been, and ultimately, I don’t want to see myself as one of those guys,” Casey said.
Coach Mike Mularkey would like nothing better than for those long-time Titans who have never been to the playoffs to finally be rewarded with a postseason berth.
“It’s something that they’ve worked for, they’ve earned. It would be something I’d like to be able to have happen for them,” Mularkey said. “I think everybody on this team would like to see that happen. There’s a lot of guys, not as many years, but the Avery (Williamson’s), four years, that’s still a long time not to have a chance to get a playoff chance. There’s a lot of guys in that room that would like that opportunity.”
Cornerback Logan Ryan did not practice again with his injured ankle, but did run on a treadmill Thursday. The Titans are hopeful that he might be able to practice Friday with an eye on playing Sunday.
Running back DeMarco Murray remains out with a sprained right knee.