Rookie linebacker Kevin Dodd’s season is over after he was placed on injured reserve due to the lingering foot injury stemming from surgery he had in May.
Dodd, who had been a “healthy scratch” by the Titans for the past two games because the team was not pleased with his practice performance, was shut down and replaced on the 53-man roster by linebacker Justin Staples, who was promoted from the practice squad.
Dodd, the first of three second-round picks by the Titans in 2016, endured a disappointing rookie season. He had just one sack
“We felt like (we were) making no progress. I think the injury was affecting him in a number of ways. I mean, nothing’s changed from the beginning, he’s just had a hard time practicing with it and it’s affected his performance. We feel it’s best for Kevin. We’ll re-evaluate it and bring Justin up,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said.
Although the Titans were of the opinion that Dodd’s foot was OK, his ability to adjust to playing with a screw in the foot and being able to tolerate that was what led to him being shut down.
“It was affecting him, I think, a little bit in his head that this thing was not allowing him to play at the level he wanted to, and that affected his performance, which affected why we put him down,” Mularkey said.
Mularkey did not rule out a second surgery for Dodd, but if that route is taken, he said the surgery would be performed early enough so Dodd could be back and available for off-season workouts The surgery in May basically robbed the rookie of his entire off-season and some of training camp as well.
The Titans still have high hopes for Dodd, Mularkey said.
“I know he’s disappointed. That’s the conversation we had this morning that he really never felt like he could play like he wanted to play at the level he wanted to play. He’s got a great future here. We’re going to help him get that thing right and come back here stronger than ever,” Mularkey said.
The promotion of Staples gives the Titans another option on special teams. Staples split last season between the practice squad and active roster too, and his primary contributions after being promoted to the 53-man roster came on special teams.