Britt looking like his old self despite sore knees
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
Kenny Britt knows both his knees will not be 100 percent until sometime after the season ends when he's not practicing daily and playing games.
He is feeling better now and looking like the big physical receiver who was off to one of the NFL's best starts for Tennessee in 2011 before tearing his right ACL and needing a total of three operations on both knees through June.
''Sometimes there's good days, sometimes there's bad days,'' Britt said. ''But I'm confident that I can finish out this season.''
Britt had his best game this season catching eight passes for 143 yards in last week's loss to Indianapolis, and the New Jersey native's timing is good with the Titans (4-9) preparing to host the Jets (6-7) on Monday night.
''He made some tough catches,'' Titans coach Mike Munchak said of his receiver. ''There were some great balls dropped in there. Guys were all over him, he made some great catches. The one was a PI on them, and he still caught it before the half. He's a big target, there are a lot of things he can do.''
It's taken Britt quite a while to get to this point.
He tore his ACL on Sept. 25, 2011, in a win over Denver, and that set up his first surgery to repair that knee. In May, Britt needed a second surgery on the knee to clean up the knee. By late June, he needed a second arthroscopic surgery to clean up his left knee, which had been swelling and bothering him.
Still, Britt worked his way back and was ready by the start of the season when he had to sit out the season opener suspended for his eighth run-in with police, a July 20th arrest for driving under the influence at the Fort Campbell post on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.
Since then, Britt has not missed a game and been a regular in practice trying to get back into a groove catching passes even with his left knee still swelling at times and his right knee also bothering him at times. Getting back to the receiver that had a career-high 225 yards receiving with three TDs against Philadelphia on Oct. 24, 2010, has been easier said than done.
Britt found himself practicing only to watch himself on tape and see himself running such sloppy routes that he didn't even look like a pro receiver. Catching slant passes were the hardest.
''Trying to find the ball coming out of the quarterback's hands and catching it with my eyes first and then catching it with my hands,'' Britt said. ''That was just really hard to locate the ball coming out of my breaks because it came out so fast and it was on me so fast.''
His struggles showed on the field where Britt had six games with three or fewer passes. He had three TD receptions, and his longest catch was a 37-yarder against Pittsburgh on Oct. 11.
So the 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver spent more time with assistant coach Dave Ragone and worked more catching balls off the Juggs machine. Then he said his legs finally started feeling better the past couple weeks.
Then something clicked for Britt in Indianapolis. He averaged 17.9 yards per catch with a long reception of 46 yards and looked like the player who had 271 yards receiving through the first two weeks of the 2011 season. This is why the Titans drafted him in the first round out of Rutgers in 2009, and he led the team in yards receiving each of his first two seasons.
''The road to recovery that he's been going through has been hard, mentally and physically for him, in a lot of areas,'' coach Mike Munchak said. ''To finally have a game that picks him back up where he left off back in Week 2 last year after our first two games where he had about 150 a game. I think that's a good thing for him.''
The way Britt played may mean Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie matches up with him. The receiver has been studying Cromartie on film and hopes to be prepared for the way the defensive back presses and puts his hands on an opponent. Playing well is a must against the Jets with so many relatives back in Bayonne, N.J. watching.
''We got some friends that'll definitely wear the Jets' jerseys but everybody's just rooting (for) me,'' Britt said. ''I see it in Twitter and I see it in text messages. Everybody's rooting on me to get this W out here on Monday night.''
Notes: LB Colin McCarthy (concussion) did not practice Friday and is at risk of missing a third straight game. Munchak said the linebacker can tolerate light activity but still has symptoms when he tries to push himself. DE Scott Solomon (knee) and receiver Damian Williams (hamstring) also did not practice. ... Chris Johnson returned to practice after resting a sore ankle Thursday. DT Jurrell Casey (knee) was limited.
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