Leroy Harris can breathe a little bit easier.
Barring something unexpected, the sixth-year veteran knows that he will be the Tennessee Titans starting right guard this season. That’s because his chief competition for that spot, third-year player Fernando Velasco, is now a candidate to play center.
Coach Mike Munchak confirmed Saturday, following a workout at LP Field, that center Eugene Amano will miss the season with a torn triceps in his right arm.
Shortly after the workout the team signed veteran Chris Morris to provide depth at center and guard. A five-year veteran, he spent the majority of his career with the Oakland Raiders in addition to a brief stint with the Carolina Panthers.
Velasco (6-foot-4, 313 pounds) will battle Kevin Matthews (6-foot-3, 302 pounds) for the remainder of camp. Each has limited NFL experience, including one start at center for the Titans.
Matthews has missed the last three days of work with concussion-like symptoms but is expected to return to practice Wednesday.
“We still feel like we have two good options,” Munchak said. “I know I’m comfortable with them, the quarterbacks are comfortable with them and that’s where it starts.”
Velasco and Harris split time with the first team at right guard through most of the first week of camp. Munchak said coaches originally planned to use him some at center during Week 2, but now he will ply there full-time, which effectively means Harris, the starter at left guard the last two seasons, is now unchallenged.
Amano, a starter for the past four seasons (the last two at center, was hurt during Thursday evening’s practice session. The injury will require surgery at some point in the coming week.
A seventh-round draft pick in 2004, he has played all three interior line positions nd appeared in 124 career games with 68 starts. He was the starting left guard in 2008 and 2009 before he moved to center full-time two years ago.
“No doubt, he’s depressed and disappointed,” Munchak said. “He’s a guy we drafted in the seventh round and he’s paid big-time dividends for this franchise.”