When the Tennessee Titans took the field for OTAs on Tuesday, there was a familiar face as one of the leaders of the stretch line.
Tight end Delanie Walker, still making his way back from a broken fibula suffered last year in the season opener against Miami, was among the line leaders as practice began.
Walker went though individual work and even got a few of what he called a “jog through” in the team portion of Tuesday’s work.
For the 35-year-old tight end, a return to the field – even in a limited role in a May OTA – was a big step forward.
“It’s always good to get out here with the team. As a team we talked about it, and this is the plan they’ve got for me. I’m happy with the plan. I’m just taking steps pretty much,” Walker said. “I’ve missed a lot of football, and I’m just glad to be back out here and have the opportunity to run around with my teammates.”
Walker’s speed looked good, and the veteran tight end admitted he has lost a little bit of weight to take the pressure off his healing ankle.
“I’ve dropped a few pounds. I feel like that will be a little better on my ankle during this recovery time. We’ll see what happens when the season comes, but I feel good with the weight I’m at,” Walker said.
Walker’s absence from the offense was noticeable last season, and the Titans are hopeful he can return to something close to his Pro Bowl form.
Still, the Titans have upgraded at the receiver position to help give Marcus Mariota more weapons, but having his security blanket back in Walker is a good sign. Mariota, who went through a similar injury himself two years ago, was glad to see Walker back at practice.
“It’s definiely nice to have him back out. Just with that sort of injury, it’s a process, but he’s stuck to it and done a great job of doing what he can. … From my take it’s going to be a process, but he looks good,” Mariota said.
Four prominent players on the roster were absent from practice at the OTAs. Right tackle Jack Conklin and tight end Jonnu Smith, both coming off knee injuries, were not on the practice field. Also, cornerback Adoree’ Jackson was absent as well as kicker Ryan Succop.
Walker, rookie D’Andre Walker and cornerback Logan Ryan, also coming off a leg injury, were limited to individual work.