Reynaud's final act as return specialist might earn him a return invitation

Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 4:56pm

"Out of the league."

For players on the margins of the NFL, it's the phrase you never want attached to you, and that was Darius Reynaud in 2011.

After he set a franchise single-game record with two punt returns for touchdowns in the Titans' 38-20 season-ending victory over Jacksonville, he has a shot to shed that label.

"It feels good," Reynaud said. "Your heart's beating and you don't see anyone in front of you. I didn't think I'd get the second one.

"That's the way to go out [of the season]"

With 48 seconds left in the second quarter, Reynaud received a punt at his own 31, picked up a few blocks, streaked up the sideline and put the Titans up 21-14.

"All credit goes to the blockers," he said. "The first one was blocked well. I saw [Collin] Mooney on the side and hit it. When I saw [Jason] McCourty [making the last block], man, my eyes just got huge."

If that touchdown was the product of a good scheme, the second, just under two minutes into the second half, was a complete surprise.

Fielding a punt at the Titans 19 yard line, Reynaud again ran to his right. But with a number of Jaguars streaking down that side, he pivoted, ran backwards and cut up the left side for an 81-yard score.

"That's a good athlete making a great play there," coach Mike Munchak said. "A lot of games, obviously, he'd be tackled right there or lose his balance and be pushed down. He was able to reverse field. When you you that, there's a chance something good will happen. Sometimes you will lose a lot of yards when you do that, but this was one of those times where he found the wall and guys rallied around him."

A burner out of West Virginia, the return specialist bounced between the Vikings and Giants before spending last season without a club. He signed  one-year deal with the Titans last January, but his big chance came when former all-pro Mark Mariani went down with a broken leg in the pre-season.

"You've gotta take advantage of every opportunity," he said.

His 1,650 total yards on kickoff and punt returns and three touchdowns — including a 105-yard one against Detroit — will make people notice, both inside and outside the Titans organization. And Sunday's performance just might keep him from being "out of the league" next season.

2 Comments on this post:

By: courier37027 on 12/31/12 at 9:01

On the next Wake Up Zone, the hosts discuss Reynaud's chances of Canton enshrinement. Like Kenny Britt and Billy Volek, one or two great games means you are measured for a Hall of Fame gold jacket and bronze bust.

By: 4gold on 1/1/13 at 11:34

Forgot to watch but was impressed that Titans scored so many points. Until I read the game notes. Offense scored one TD. The rest by specal teams. Thats our O line for ya!

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!