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McRath Resolute Despite Looming Surgery

Posted Aug 19, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gerald McRath, one of the most vocal players in the Titans locker room, spoke more quietly than normal but with convincing resolve.

The linebacker soon will have knee surgery that will cost him his fourth season in the NFL, Titans coach Mike Munchak said Sunday.

“In year four, I still feel like it’s a lot to prove, but everything happens for a reason,” McRath said. “I’m blessed to be here now, and I’ve still got a positive mindset that everything is going to work out. That’s something that I probably won’t be able to tell until afterward (when I) see how everything goes and see what the damage was.”

McRath, who when healthy has good speed, spent the offseason in rotations on defense and frequently on special teams. He said he felt something wrong with his knee while covering a kickoff at Seattle on Aug. 11. McRath and Tommie Campbell combined to make the tackle late in the second quarter, but the Titans had rested him since to see if his knee got better. It didn’t, which left him with one feasible option.

“It’s a hard decision to make, but like I said, everything happens for a reason,” McRath said. “I’m blessed to be here. I know God has a plan. It’s one of those things where you get it taken care of and you work hard to get back. It might be a minor setback, but I think this is where your character is really shown, and when adversity puts you back on the wall, it’s about how you decide to fight and bounce back.”

Munchak, whose own playing career was shortened by knee problems, said McRath had played through residual issues, but they reached an impassible point. Munchak added that he was disappointed for McRath.

“They play for a few years through certain things, and at some point, they reach a point where they can’t, and I think that’s where he’s at,” Munchak said. “You still have to play football and be on the ground and the pounding, and the change of direction with people pushing on you. I think that finally caught up with him, so we’ll know more exactly once they do the surgery, we’ll find out exactly what he had.”

Munchak said McRath “worked hard this offseason and was anticipating being a part of everything.”

“About 10 days into camp, he started having some soreness in the knee that he just couldn’t get behind him,” Munchak said. “We have to wait and see. He opted to move it forward, which is what he’s doing.”

McRath, a fourth-round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, has played in 40 games and made 12 starts. He has 112 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, an interception and 16 special teams tackles, and the Titans were planning to develop his role in the second year of Jerry Gray’s defensive scheme this season.

McRath has also brought a solid presence to the Titans locker room since he arrived. He said his teammates will fill in for him while he is on the mend.

“This locker room is great, especially the linebacker corps,” McRath said. “They won’t miss a beat. (Rookie) Zach (Brown) definitely came in here running. I’m looking forward to watching him. We’ve still got leadership in (Will Witherspoon). We’ve got two young guys [Colin McCarthy and Akeem Ayers], who I still consider rookies, but they don’t play like rookies.

“They’re anxious to get out there, and I know that feeling,” he continued. “You feel like you’ve got a lot to prove, especially (from) last year when we didn’t make the playoffs. These guys are hungry, they worked hard the whole offseason, they’ve been working hard the whole training camp in the linebacking corps.”

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