Kevin Dodd was back and participating fully on Saturday as the Tennessee Titans opened training camp.
Not bad for a guy who in January feared that his NFL career might be over before it had ever really gotten started.
Dodd, last year’s first of three second-round picks, had his rookie season cut short due to a lingering foot injury, a fifth metatarsal fracture that required surgery and a screw to be placed in it in May 2016. Dodd was shelved just over halfway through his rookie season due to lingering pain, and he underwent a second procedure in January, costing him all of this year’s off-season work.
“After I got that second surgery, I thought it was over with,” Dodd said of his career. “But Mike (Mularkey) and Jon (Robinson) told me to be patient, and they would work with me, that this kind of thing happens. It was just a freak injury, and they told me to be patient.
“So I learned to be patient with this injury.”
Dodd said the second surgery was required because his injury never fully healed with the first surgery.
“So I went and got it fixed,” he said. “You’ve got to be patient and let your body heal itself. You can’t put a timeline on this injury.”
After missing Saturday’s opening training camp practice, wide receiver Corey Davis is signed and sealed and will be delivered in time for Saturday evening’s meetings.
Davis, the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, had his agent wrap up contract talks with the Titans just after the first practice began.
“From what I understand he is here and he will be here for sure for meetings tonight,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said after practice.
Davis shouldn’t fall behind in terms of missing much, according to the head coach.
“I’m pleased that he’s here. I”m glad that he’s here. I think his teammates are glad that he’s here. I know he’s very happy to be here. He didn’t miss very much, a couple of practices. He will not be behind. He’ll pick it right up,” Mularkey said.
Davis, who was limited in the first part of OTAs due to ankle surgery before the Titans drafted him, will be full go once he gets on the field tomorrow.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota is excited that Davis will be on the practice field.
In other receiver-related news from the first day of practice, a good number of the estimated 2,400 fans in attendance Saturday cheered loudly for new receiver Eric Decker, who seemed to have an instant connection with quarterback Marcus Mariota, despite signing after mini-camps.
“ was impressed. We signed him when the off-season program finished,” Mularkey said. “To come out here and line up, there weren’t a lot of mistakes, and he made some plays. You could tell he’s done some studying on his own.”
Decker, who played mostly as the Z receiver and one play at X in his first day, made one nice grab on a go route up the right sideline.
As for his ease in working with Mariota, Decker was part of the group that Mariota got together to throw with before camp began.
“They came back early, came back a couple of weeks and worked off site. They can’t work here during the dead period, but they found places to throw together. All the receivers were all together throwing, and Marcus set that all up,” Mularkey said.
The quarterback was quite impressed with the former Broncos and Jets receiver.
“He makes it easy. He made a couple of great plays, and that’s something to build off of. And hopefully, we can carry that over,” Mariota said. “He’s savvy. He finds ways to get open and gets great separation. So I think the way he was able to come out and make some plays says a lot about him.”
Sharpe lands on PUP list
While Decker impressed and Davis is set to arrive, another receiver will have to wait.
Tajae Sharpe started training camp on the physically unable to perform list with a foot injury suffered in off-season work.
“We’re going to be patient with him, based on our history of what happened with Kevin (Dodd),” Mularkey said of Sharpe. “We want to be smart with that. We’ve got a bunch of receivers that can do the job right now and just getting him healthy is the most important thing.”
Sharpe caught 41 passes a year ago, but has been pushed down the depth chart due to injuries and the arrivals of Decker, Davis and Taywan Taylor.
Karl Klug told TitanInsider back in OTAs that his goal was to be ready for the first day of training camp.
Even Coach Mike Mularkey felt at the time that that might be a little bit optimistic, but Klug was practicing on Saturday and avoided the PUP list.
Mularkey praised Klug’s efforts to get back, and Klug is expected to get some work even when the full pad practice comes on Monday.
“Karl Klug, I don’t know if I’ve been around a guy who is an animal when it comes to working out and doing everything right and wanting to get back out here,” Mularkey said. “He lived in that training room. He was there daily, but that doesn’t surprise me.”
Klug was excited to reach his goal.
“The trainers had a hell of a regimen for me coming back,” Klug said. “I’m not really in a position that some of the other guys are in. Coach always says damaged goods are no goods, and we get paid to play, and if you’re sitting on the sideline, you’re not good to anyone. I still want to play, and that was my motivation to get back and play.”
LeShaun Sims got the nod as the starting cornerback opposite Logan Ryan on Saturday, but Sims will rotate with rookie Adoree’ Jackson in camp, with the two splitting reps.
“Somebody is going to start every practice. We went with LeShaun because of the experience, but we’re going to rotate them all. We’re keeping a count on the reps as far as who’s getting what,” Mularkey said.
Da’Norris Searcy took first-team safety reps on Saturday as Jonathan Cyprien did not take part in any team drills. Cyprien had suffered an ankle injury late in off-season work, but the club said the ankle injury was minor at the time.