Rocky Boiman knows it’s late, regarding his return to the Tennessee Titans.
But the way Boiman figures it, it’s never too late to make a good impression.
The Titans, thin at linebacker thanks to injuries to Josh Stamer (groin), Stephen Tulloch (knee) and Colin Allred (ankle), signed Boiman, a fourth-round pick of the team in 2002 and Tyson Smith on Tuesday to help bolster the ranks at that position.
“They’re a good team. It’ll probably be a tough roster to make, but I can come in and show some versatility and show what I can do on special teams and at linebacker,” Boiman said. “I definitely believe I’m coming back here a better player than when I left.”
Boiman, 29, spent last year with the Kansas City Chiefs after two years in Indianapolis, but was left looking for a job when training camps opened this year.
“I was surprised, but it definitely helps when you get a call from a place I’ve had some history with and knew a lot of people and knew some of the system. I’m very, very happy,” he said.
During his time with the Titans, Boiman made his mark on special teams, playing on most units and usually landing among the team’s leaders in special teams tackles. To turn some heads, it will take a repeat performance. But he at least is familiar with the defense, which should make his learning time fairly short.
“There’s some new wrinkles and it’s going to take a little bit to get back up to speed, but just going out there the first day, it shouldn’t take too long to get comfortable on special teams,” Boiman said. “I just want to come in and do whatever they ask. I think I bring some versatility. I can play middle and play outside, and just bust my butt on special teams and hopefully get a spot here.”
Titans coach Jeff Fisher said Boiman was in good shape, and that he can help the Titans, especially on special teams.
“Rocky was recently released by the Chiefs and is in great shape and understands what we’re doing,” Fisher said. “We need help right now just because numbers are down and it works out good. Tyson worked out very well for us too.”
In order to create room on the roster, the Titans released rookie quarterback Alex Mortensen and rookie cornerback Jeremy Haynes.
Mortensen, son of ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen, threw two passes in Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game, one of which Buffalo’s Reggie Corner returned for a touchdown. Fisher joked that the younger Mortensen completed both his passes.
“We just didn’t have a luxury of carrying him anymore. I told him, ‘It’s a great experience to be able to play in a game.’ We got him in the ballgame and he’s two-for-two with a touchdown, so he should be happy about that,” Fisher said.
In addition to the three linebackers who necessitated the signings of Boiman and Smith, several other Titans did not practice on Tuesday.
Defensive tackle Jason Jones was in a boot with a foot injury, while receiver Chris Davis was sidelined with a sore hamstring and Casey Cramer was out with a shoulder injury. Rookie running back Javon Ringer was out with soreness, but should be back Wednesday, according to Fisher.
Others held out included punter Craig Hentrich, who had some tightness, as well as tight end Alge Crumpler, who was rested.
Receiver Mark Jones (hamstring) and defensive end Jacob Ford (hamstring) remain out, as does center Kevin Mawae (elbow).
With both Davis and Jones out Tuesday, cornerback Tanard Davis handled the punt return duties.
Britt ready to roll
First-round pick Kenny Britt was much more involved Tuesday than he had been in his first day of work on Monday. It appears that Britt, who came off the PUP list Friday, will get the chance to be actively involved Saturday night against Tampa Bay as the first-round pick was in on a number of plays in practice.
“I feel I’m more in the game plan. I’m just trying to feel of how everything works,” Britt said. “I was a little slow coming in and out of my breaks, but that was just coming back and getting used to running around again.”
The Titans dedicated one period of practice with both Chris Johnson and LenDale White on the field together for a time and having quarterback Vince Young execute an option type package.
“I’m just the player. When they call plays, I go out and I execute. That’s all I can do,” Young said. “That’s pretty much it. Anything that can help to win a ballgame, if that’s going to help us win ballgames, getting me and C.J. on the corner or on the edge one-on-one with a DB or something like that, then, yeah, I’m with it. I’ve been running the option since high school, so I’m used to that.”
Asked if he thought the option attack would work, Young said, “It definitely could work as long as you have all 11 guys executing the play down the field and buying into the scheme.”
Fisher’s take on running an option package was simply that it was something the team wanted to work on.
“We’re just working on some things that we need to work on,” Fisher said.
Before practice, safety Michael Griffin escorted rookie receiver Dudley Guice over to fans along the fence and instructed him to begin singing.
Guice was standing on the back of the water carts and began to sing rather a song that Griffin couldn’t make out. Apparently, the hazing was punishment for Guice not wanting to sing on Sunday night along with some other rookies.
“We had a little issue we had to get solved from Sunday night. We had a little charter bus and party and we had [Ryan] Mouton sing and a couple of people sing. He just didn’t want to sing for some odd reason,” Griffin said.
Asked how Guice’s singing was, Griffin replied, “Terrible. I don’t even know [what he was singing]. I don’t think it’s finished yet. I think Guice still owes us something.”