NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans rewarded receiver Rishard Matthews with a one-year contract extension on Tuesday, and after practice coach Mike Vrabel discussed the move, and his potential return to the field.
Matthews has been on the team’s Physically Unable to Perform list since the beginning of training camp.
“We feel good about his work, and where he’s at,” Vrabel said of Matthews. “And obviously he’s put a lot of time in to try and get himself ready for the season. So hopefully we can see him back shortly, when he’s ready.”
Over the past two seasons, Matthews has led the team with 1,740 receiving yards and 13 touchdown receptions, and he’s ranked second on the team behind tight end Delanie Walker with 118 catches. His 14.7 yards per reception average ranks ninth among all NFL players with at least 100 receptions during that time.
Vrabel said he’s been a good influence for the team’s younger receivers.
When he’s cleared, he’ll have to work his way back into practices.
“You have to get in football shape, put pads on and stuff like that,” Vrabel said. “With the (PUP) rules, you can’t wear pads or a helmet now while he’s on PUP. We’re just trying to work him back with the trainers.
“I think he has been very professional at the walk-throughs and the meetings, and watching behind the huddle, getting the call, trying to take a mental reps the best he can. It’s a process, but I think he’s taken it in stride and been a real pro.”
Vrabel complimented left guard Quinton Spain, and indicated he’s closing in on pinning down a starting spot.
Spain has started 27 games over the past two seasons.
“I am going to stay on him because I think he has great potential,” Vrabel said. “I think he has improved and hopefully he continues on that path.”
At right tackle, Dennis Kelly continues to work with the first group, as Jack Conklin remains on PUP himself.
“(He’s been) great,” Vrabel said of Kelly. “We’re very lucky to have him. He comes to work, brings his lunch pail every day and tries to do his job to the best of his ability. With linemen, when you don’t notice them that is usually a good thing. And so we are lucky that we have Dennis.”
Tight end Delanie Walker, linebacker Brian Orakpo, linebacker Rashaan Evans, cornerback Malcolm Butler, linebacker Derrick Morgan, receiver Michael Campanaro, receiver Deontay Burnett, safety Steven Terrell, safety Kendrick Lewis and running back Akrum Wadley did not practice on Tuesday.
Evans worked on a side field, and looked good.
Matthews and Conklin watched practice.
Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and offensive linemen Josh Kline and Corey Levin returned to practice after missing on Monday.