The Tennessee Titans could have issues in their return game again, as receiver Mark Jones injured his hamstring during the bye week while running a pass route.
Jones was cut in preseason after a hamstring injury but was brought back after Ryan Mouton fumbled both a punt and a kickoff that led to touchdowns in a loss to the New York Jets on Sept. 27.
The situation is bad enough that the Titans auditioned three players on Thursday – former Rams receiver Dane Looker, former Jaguars return man Alvin Pearman and receiver C.J. Jones – with the possibility of signing one before Sunday’s game with Jacksonville.
For Jones, the hamstring injury is on his left leg this time. The training camp injury was on the right leg.
“Mark Jones is not any better. We’re evaluating his status there. We’re evaluating the direction we’re going to go in the return game,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
Trying Mouton or another inexperienced returner this week is likely not an option.
“We went down that road earlier this year, and we would prefer somebody with some experience,” Fisher said.
Jones said the MRI on his hamstring did not look real bad, but that the pain persists in the leg.
“The MRI didn’t show a big tear, but I know how I’m feeling and [it’ll be] based on how it responds to treatment,” Jones said. “If I can run and do what I’m supposed to do, I’ll be good to go, but I’m not gonna try and force it.”
Rookie running back Javon Ringer, who went down with a back injury, watched a portion of practice, but moved with noticeable limp. According to Fisher, Ringer’s injury was not as bad as first feared.
“We got some good news on Javon. He’s going to be OK. We were real concerned about it. We feared the worst and got good results,” Fisher said. “We’re still evaluating him. It’s still too early. Based on his improvement from yesterday to today, if that continues, we’re optimistic that he won’t miss too much time.”
Receiver Nate Washington was added to the injury report and did not practice because of a quadriceps injury. Also, tackle Mike Otto (knee) did not practice either.
In addition, cornerback Cortland Finnegan worked in limited fashion, as did Nick Harper, who still has a cast on his broken arm.
Changing their luck
The Titans have not won since LenDale White, Keith Bulluck and other Tennessee players stomped on the Terrible Towels last Dec. 21 after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers.
So with the help of WNSR 560-AM radio personality Thom Abraham and former Titan Brad Hopkins, his co-host, the culprits are attempting to reverse the curse that has grown to eight consecutive losses.
White and Bulluck signed a yellow Terrible Towel after Thursday’s practice. The towel will be shipped overnight to the Alleghany Valley School in Pittsburgh, a non-profit organization that benefits from deceased former Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope’s “Official Terrible Towel” sales.
“The players were happy to do it, especially for the charity, and Keith Bulluck even asked how he could make an additional financial donation,” Abraham said.
Added Hopkins, who played 13 years for the Titans organization, “We can’t figure out what has happened to this team, so we figure it had to be the Towel.”