NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans have removed receiver Rishard Matthews from the team’s Physically Unable to Perform list.
Matthews passed a physical and has been cleared to practice.
Also on Sunday, the Titans placed receiver Michael Campanaro on Injured Reserve.
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.
Matthews, who signed a one-year contract extension with the team last week, indicated late in the week he was close to returning.
On a team filled with young receivers, Matthews also said he was looking forward to returning to the field, and setting a good example for the team’s young receivers.
“I try to lead by example, the way I practice, the way I play, and the way I compete,” Matthews said on Thursday. “It’s been tough, because I haven’t been out there.
“I have been away for too long, and missed all of OTAs and training camp for the first time in my career. It is a first for me, but it is a part of the game and I just have to be on top of my things so I’ll know what I am doing when I come back. I’m hoping to be back soon. Real soon.”
Matthews didn’t take part in the team’s OTAs, and minicamp in May and June. At the start of training camp, he was placed on PUP.
“It will just be good to get back out there,” Matthews said. “Just watching the guys and not being able to be out there and compete, it is something that you don’t like, but it is part of the game and the training staff has done a great job of getting me back right, so it is there now.”
In the interview with Titans Online last week, Matthews said he’s been impressed with the team’s young receivers. He said he’s tried to encourage them, and offer advice at times. But he admitted he’ll be more effective when he’s back in uniform.
Matthews will rejoin a young receiving corps that includes Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe.
“I try to let a lot of guys learn on their own, and let the coaches teach,” Matthews said. “If I feel like I can give advice, I definitely do. But at the same time I just sort of sit back and let them do their thing because it is tough. A lot of the guys have never seen me practice or do anything, so it is tough when I haven’t been out there to show them what I am trying to tell them.
“In the meeting rooms and practice I try to give advice here and there. But I think the group has done a great job. We have a lot of playmakers who can do things with the ball in their hands, and get open.”
A veteran of six NFL seasons, Matthews believes he can be effective when he comes back.
Matthews initially signed with the Titans prior to the 2016 season, and he’s played in 30 games over the past two seasons. Matthews caught 53 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns in 2017, one year after catching 65 passes for 945 yards and nine touchdowns. Matthews has 225 catches for 3,136 yards and 21 touchdowns.
He played his first four seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
“If you’ve played long enough, getting back out there won’t be hard,’’ he said. “It will be just getting back into football shape really.”
Campanaro was signed by the team earlier this offseason after playing previously with the Ravens, and he enjoyed a solid offseason before being slowed by an injury. Campanaro was back for training camp, but was sidelined again.
The Titans return to the practice field on Monday.
The team plays its final preseason game on Thursday night at Nissan Stadium against the Vikings.
Wide Receiver Rishard Matthews' Titans Career
TitansOnline.com looks back at wide receiver Rishard Matthews' first two seasons in Tennessee. (AP Photos)