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Camp Notebook: Delanie Walker Returns, Catches TD & Barbs from Teammates

Posted Aug 19, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With a physical passed and Delanie Walker officially being transferred from the physically unable to perform list, the remaining thing Monday was for the tight end to get in a good sweat at practice.

Tight end Delanie Walker caught this short touchdown during drills Monday in his return to action from an offseason knee procedure.
Click here for a slideshow from practice.

Walker, who joined the Titans this offseason after seven in San Francisco, swapped red and gold cleats he wore during the team’s offseason program for brand new blue ones and opted to wear pants while teammates were in shorts. He participated in individual and seven-on-seven drills and was still wearing soft chest pads during interviews in the locker room.

“I haven’t sweated like this in a while. Being in the bubble (indoor practice facility), and running by myself, I can take as many breaks as I want,” Walker said. “Being on that field and actually being chased by other players is a little different than being in the bubble and conditioning by yourself. I needed it and can’t wait to come back tomorrow and get some more work.”

The other part that remained Monday was the ribbing from teammates.

“Today was like a fashion show. They were all on me, talking about, ‘He’s in all white with the new cleats.’ And ‘Oh, you’re practicing. Just a vet move,’ ” Walker said. “I got everything, man. ‘You missed all of training camp and now you want to come back at the end.’ They’re giving me a hard time, but I know they want me out there to work and see what I can do so I’m just happy to be out there working with my team.”

Quarterback Jake Locker welcomed Walker back to the practice field by connecting with the versatile veteran on his first throw during passing drills and again finding him for a short touchdown toss moments later.

Titans coach Mike Munchak said it was great to see Walker (offseason knee procedure) and tight end Taylor Thompson (shoulder injury from the first preseason game) return to action, but it remains to be seen if Walker will play against Atlanta Saturday at LP Field or at Minnesota on Aug. 29.

“We’ll see how he progresses on Wednesday and Thursday to decide if it’s worth him playing at all on Saturday,” Munchak said. “We’ll talk to him about it and kind of see where he’s at. If he doesn’t play this week, is it worth putting him in (the Minnesota) game with the offense for a couple drives? I hope he just progresses where there’s no setbacks and that his knee does respond well.” 

FIVE LBS: While depth improved for the Titans at tight end, Tennessee only had five linebackers available Monday.

Munchak said Moise Fokou (knee) and Zach Brown (foot) were dealing with soreness, and Scott Solomon had concussion-like symptoms at the end of Tennessee’s game at Cincinnati but appeared fine Monday. The three joined Akeem Ayers (ankle), who is not playing this week, and Colin McCarthy (hamstring), Zaviar Gooden (ankle) and Greg Jones (ankle) on the sidelines.

The Titans had veterans Patrick Bailey and Tim Shaw, who have been stalwarts on special teams, rookie Jonathan Willard and recent additions Gary Guyton and Kadarron Anderson available.

“It’s hard to practice because you don’t want it to become a problem with other guys getting hurt because they’re practicing too many reps,” Munchak said. “We had the young guys playing today for most of practice, and we should get Moise back tomorrow, but we’re not sure about the other guys. Akeem won’t play this week, and then that’s going to stretch special teams because your special teamers are now starters. Bailey will be starting and Shaw played a ton, so you’ve got those guys and the young guys that we just brought in a week ago trying to step up and play. We’ve got a lot of teaching to do there to get ready for this game because the younger guys may have to step up and play a lot this week.”

WRIGHT RECEIVES SUPPORT: Kendall Wright, who suffered a knee injury after making a catch late in the first half, received a text message of support from former Baylor teammate and Redskins QB Robert Griffin III.

“He texted me as soon as he saw it,” Wright said. “He told me to just take my time with the knee because it’s the same thing he had before he messed it up again.”

Wright, who had somewhat of a distant stare as he left the field via medical cart Saturday night, said he’s optimistic about returning in time for the regular season opener at Pittsburgh on Sept. 8.

“I looked like that because I don’t like missing any time,” Wright said. “I just wanted to finish — I wasn’t going to be out there much longer but I just wanted to finish the two-minute drive and come out when it was time to come out. I didn’t want to come out due to injury.”

BIRONAS MOVING PAST BACK ISSUE:  Rob Bironas, who ranks fifth in career field goal accuracy in NFL history (85.6 percent), returned to action against Cincinnati after dealing with back problems but missed a pair of field goals. After hitting a 44-yarder, Tennessee’s kicker since 2005, kicked a 38-yarder wide left and a 37-yarder wide right, but said his back is doing better.

“I can always count for (back problems) once or twice in an offseason, once during training camp and once or twice during the season,” Bironas said. “We get through it, and it’s been like that for eight years. It’s part of playing this game.”

Bironas said he grew impatient from missing practice time and “tried to rush back and ignore what happened, and it set me back.”

“I should have given it another day or two when it first happened instead of trying to push through and come back right away,” Bironas said. “That was just me trying not to miss practice. Now, the whole game is getting back in a rhythm and putting every kick through the uprights.”

NOTES: Ropati Pitoitua underwent surgery on his broken hand Monday, and the Titans opted to rest Sammie Hill (elbow). … Alterraun Verner took first-team reps at cornerback, and Rob Turner took first-team reps at center, but Munchak said decisions on starters at those positions haven’t been made.

Preseason Live: Tennessee Titans

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