NFL

RB Greene looking to stay healthy as Titans open camp

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The Canadian Press
7/26/2014 3:02:07 PM
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Shonn Greene has done enough sitting and watching the past few months.

Now the Tennessee running back is back on the field and couldn't be happier at how much better his right knee feels.

Greene took the first snaps Saturday in team drills at the Titans' initial training camp practice, his first work since having arthroscopic surgery in May on the same knee that cost him five games last season. He said he felt a little rusty.

"This being my first day back I was kind of hesitant with it, but it held up for the most part and felt pretty good," Greene said.

The Titans need the veteran to show why they gave him a three-year contract in March 2013.

Chris Johnson was cut in April and now is with the New York Jets, Greene's old team. Greene must show he can stay healthy in Tennessee as the Titans look for someone to step up in a crowded backfield in training camp.

The Titans signed Dexter McCluster as a free agent in March and drafted Bishop Sankey out of Washington in the second round in May.

They also have Leon Washington, who's mostly a kick returner, Jackie Battle and undrafted rookie Antonio Andrews among the eight backs in camp.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said their roles have not been determined yet with training camp giving the Titans a better idea of how they will use the running backs.

The Titans are limiting Greene's work to ease him back onto the field, trying to prevent the running back's knee from flaring up again.

"The first day, it's hard to tell anything," Whisenhunt said. "It's good to have him back out there. We'll see how he progresses. The big thing is how he responds after practice, but our trainer, Todd (Toriscelli) is watching him. Going in, we had a plan for him, and we'll see how it progresses."

The Titans wanted Greene for his pounding running style to complement Johnson, especially in short-yardage situations. Greene hurt his knee in the season opener and missed the next five games as he recovered from arthroscopic surgery.

Greene had only one game all season with more than 10 carries, and he had 91 yards on 19 attempts at Jacksonville on Dec. 22.

"Toward the end of the season, I kind of felt like I was getting back in the swing of things," Greene said. "I think this time this surgery went a lot better, so my knee's feeling a lot better now."

Greene finished with 77 carries for 295 yards and an average of 3.8 yards per attempt. It was the worst of his career and a big drop from the back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the Jets.

McCluster had the best practice Saturday, using his speed to repeatedly get by defenders, and Sankey had some nice runs as well. McCluster was a Pro Bowl punt returner in Kansas City last year and is coming off a career-best 53 catches. But he combined for only 20 carries over the past two seasons combined.

Greene said he thinks opportunities for playing time are there for all the running backs with each bringing a different quality to the Titans.

"We can do different things out of the backfield, the harder it'll be on defences," Greene said.

Notes: Safety George Wilson was excused Saturday because of a death in the family. Whisenhunt said the safety was expected to rejoin the team by Saturday night. ... S Bernard Pollard intercepted Jake Locker twice, once in a passing drill with the second in a team session. Pollard said he planned to go by Whisenhunt's office to trash-talk the coach after his big plays. ... Rookie Taylor Lewan, the 11th pick overall, took snaps at both tackle spots and at left guard with Andy Levitre recovering from an appendectomy.

Shonn Greene (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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