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Warmack Joins Titans in Time for Full Pads

Posted Jul 30, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Titans wasted no time getting their first-round draft pick onto the field, and they had Chris Johnson follow the block of right guard Chance Warmack on the first play of team drills Tuesday night.

Call it a preview of what coach Mike Munchak wants from his Titans after their extreme makeover of the interior of their offensive line.

"You got him and (David) Stewart on that side, we should be able to, power football at its finest,'' Munchak said. "That's why they're here. That's why we did the things we did. It's the first day we've had all five together. We've been talking about it a long time. ... It's fun. It's a long way to go like we know but a good first step.''

Warmack was the last of the players selected in the first round of the NFL draft to agree to his contract. After getting the deal done on Monday, he called Munchak to make sure he got his conditioning test out of the way before going through a walk-through Tuesday morning.

The three-time national champion at Alabama is expected to be the Titans' starting right guard, and he was there after missing the first four practices of training camp. Warmack got signed in time for his first practice to be a fully padded workout, and he got about 20-25 snaps, or half what the first-team offense did.

"He's got a lot to work on obviously, but I think it's a good start for him,'' Munchak said. "And he's confident. Like I said, the time he spent here those six, seven weeks made him feel real comfortable with what we're doing now, and now it's just a matter of getting him used to the speed of the game. Things are happening a lot faster than they were in June.''

His teammates, especially on the defensive line, couldn't wait to "whoop up'' on the 6-foot-2, 323-pound Warmack and help prepare him for the regular season after the limits of the offseason program.

"We're going to give him everything we got,'' defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said. "We're going to come at him full speed. He don't get no break.''

Warmack spent his time waiting for his contract to be finalized working out in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He even prepped "Heard It Through the Grapevine'' to sing to his teammates on his arrival. Warmack said before the night practice he was excited for his first time wearing pads in the NFL.

"The sky's the limit and just can't wait to get out there,'' Warmack said.

Warmack agreed to a four-year deal worth a reported $12.1 million with an option for a fifth year. The Titans took Warmack at No. 10 overall and immediately plugged him into right guard, switching a lineman who started his last 40 games at left guard. Warmack wanted to play for a pair of Hall of Fame offensive linemen in Munchak and offensive line coach Bruce Matthews.

"This is all new to me, and I wouldn't be lying if I said I wasn't a little anxious to get back on the field,'' Warmack said. "Everything happens for a reason. I just give it up to God, and it worked out.''

Now Warmack has to start playing catch-up on what he missed over the first four days of camp. He worked throughout the organized team activities and minicamp, but he didn't work beside Stewart, who was recovering from a broken right leg. Warmack said he knows he missed out with his absence.

"As an offensive lineman, you have to mesh with your teammates and the other offensive linemen,'' Warmack said. "I worried about missing. You miss more days, it takes longer to catch up. I'm happy everything worked out as soon as it did, especially for my position. I didn't miss a lot of days. I'm happy I'm back and I'm able to catch up quickly.''

His linemates will be happy to answer any questions, along with likely sticking Warmack with a dinner check - or two - soon. Left guard Andy Levitre, who took part in team drills himself just as camp opened, said he doubts Warmack is too far behind.

"Obviously getting back in the swing of not being here for about six weeks takes a little getting used to,'' Levitre said. "Hopefully, things will come to him fast since he has a pretty good understanding of the offense.''

Warmack's return leaves the center spot as the only piece of the offensive line yet to be settled.

Fernando Velasco, who started 13 games at center last season, was with the first team Tuesday night. He had been rotating with Rob Turner, with rookie Brian Schwenke expected to push for playing time. But Schwenke will miss the rest of the week after an MRI exam found a first-degree strain in his left hamstring, Munchak said.

NOTES: The Titans went outside Tuesday night and practiced in a near constant downpour. Jake Locker had his best practice yet despite the wet conditions. Johnson had a highlight move, taking a handoff from his own end zone and faking out safety Michael Griffin for a would-be touchdown. The Titans capped the night by going along the fence-line, high-fiving and bumping fists with the fans who stuck out the session.

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