Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher was pleased enough with the team’s 14-week off-season program that he shut down the final practice about a half-hour early on Friday, dismissing the players until training camp opens July 25.
“We had a great off-season and they’ve worked, and they’ve done everything we’ve asked,” Fisher said. “I felt like they deserved a little treat. They had three or four periods left and it’s all something we can pick up in July. They’ve earned a break.”
Even though they have earned a break and some vacation time before training camp, the players won’t totally shut down from football.
Workouts will continue on an individual basis for the players, and many of them who will still be in the Nashville area plan on coming to Baptist Sports Park to continue working on their own during this month.
“I would hope and I believe our guys will go home and stay in shape, mentally and physically,” center Kevin Mawae said. “You can’t just stay completely away from everything and just shut it down because you lose everything you’ve built up over the 14 weeks, from the weight room perspective and conditioning and also from the mental football part of it.
“You want to check out partially, but every now and then, even myself after all these years, I’m thinking pass protections and run schemes so I’m sharp on my calls and know what call to make.”
Receiver Mike Williams, still working to build his conditioning and endurance after losing 30 pounds this off-season, said he would return from vacation on July 7 to continue his work at the Titans’ facility.
“I’ll be back here on the seventh It’s easier that way. I’m right at the target weight they want me to be, and right now it’s about improving the endurance and conditioning,” Williams said.
Quarterback Vince Young has his own plans for continuing the camaraderie that has been built up during the OTAs. For a second consecutive year, he will invite the team’s wide receivers to his home in Houston for voluntary workouts.
“I’m trying to get receivers to try and come down before the July 4 weekend,” Young said. “I’m trying to find out what they’re doing that week and getting them to work out, and do a couple of things and let my mom cook for them and get that chemistry down as well while we’re taking this break.”
Young just broke the news to his teammates Friday, but some of them appear willing to take him up on the offer.
“Any time you can get some extra work in like that on your time off, it’s an advantage, so I’m definitely going to try to make it down there,” Justin Gage said.
Added Justin McCareins said, “I’ve got to ask my wife first, but yeah, I’ll try.”
Rookie Lavelle Hawkins is eager to get to Houston with work with Young in hopes of getting a little bit of extra time with the quarterback before camp opens.
“I can’t wait. I think it’s a great thing because this is a time where no one is telling us to work out, and we’re going to take off of our free time to work out,” Hawkins said.
EXCUSED: Several players were excused from the final day of practice, including defensive linemen Tony Brown and Antonio Johnson and cornerback Eric King. Tackle Daniel Loper, guard Fernando Velasco, guard Leroy Harris, safety Rocky Schwartz, receiver Roydell Williams and cornerback Cortland Finnegan sat out with injuries.
Receiver Biren Ealy was limited with a sore hamstring.
Fisher said all except perhaps Schwartz, nursing an injured calf, should be ready for training camp.
Secondary coach Chuck Cecil was also absent from Friday's work for personal reasons.