NASHVILLE – Most Titans are in the early stages of the offseason.
Safety Johnathan Cyprien is six months in, and counting the days until he can take the field again.
He hopes it's with the Titans.
“I literally can’t wait,” said Cyprien, who suffered a torn ACL back on August 1, and missed the 2018 season. “It was so hard to go through an entire season not playing. Playing football for as long as I have, going back to Pop Warner, it was tough to sit back and watch due to injury. It was something I wasn’t accustomed to, but I am positive about it and I know God has a plan for me and this is just a setup for a great and successful year to come for me.
“I am going to come back very strong from this injury, and it is going to be something special.”
Cyprien made his comments in Atlanta earlier this month leading up to Super Bowl LIII, where he was in town for autograph signings and other events.
Cyprien said he’s made great progress mentally and physically after his plans for 2018 came crashing down the first week of training camp.
“I am almost 100 percent back,” Cyprien said. “I am on track with my rehab, and (trainers) are monitoring my progress. It is night and day from when it happened. I am walking, I am running, I am jumping, and I am cutting. So I am just like everyone else training in the offseason right now, so I am happy about that.”
Signed in free agency prior to the 2017 season after playing 60 games in four seasons in Jacksonville, Cyprien started 10 games for the Titans in 2017 and finished the year with 65 tackles and one sack. He played especially well down the stretch, including in the team’s playoff win at Kansas City.
It’s why he was so excited about 2018.
When Cyprien was injured, the Titans signed veteran Kenny Vaccaro to replace him on the team’s 53-man roster. Vaccaro was productive, finishing the season with 70 tackles, two sacks, three quarterback pressures and four tackles for a loss.
“I think he did a good job for sure,” Cyprien said of Vaccaro. “Kenny came in with a chip on his shoulder, and he came in and played well. I thought he answered the bell, and we all know he’s a good player in this league.”
Vaccaro signed a one-year deal with the team, so he’s scheduled to become a free agent next month. Cyprien has two years left on the deal he signed in 2017.
A six-year veteran, Cyprien knows the business side of the NFL presents some different possibilities looking ahead as it relates to Vaccaro, and himself.
“In all reality, there’s a couple of different scenarios that can happen,” Cyprien said. “It could be we’re both on the team together, and I would be more than happy to do that, no problem. Or it could be just myself, or it could just be Kenny. That’s just the reality of this business. That’s not for me to decide, of course.”
Cyprien does know this: He wants to return to Tennessee, where he’s developed friendships, and bonds on and off the field.
And he believes his best days are ahead of him.
“Speaking for myself, I know I want to be a Titan, and I feel like there’s a lot I have left to prove,” Cyprien said. “I feel like I wasn’t able to reach my potential, and the goals I set for myself, and I know I can bring a lot to the team.
“I can only speak for myself, and what I have done in the past. I am just going to sit back and wait for my opportunity to be back on the field. I feel really good, and I’m excited about what’s ahead.”
TitansOnline.com looks back at safety Johnathan Cyprien's first six NFL seasons. (AP Photos)