Ken Amato is the equivalent of a left-handed reliever in baseball.
As the Tennessee Titans’ long-snapper, Amato is a specialist of sorts. As a consistent long-snapper, he possesses a skill that few other players do and one that makes him a valuable commodity, even though he might only play a few snaps a game.
But Amato has been more than a one-trick pony in his time with the Titans. He has been a core member of most all the special teams units, and even has played in situational and goal-line packages as an additional linebacker over the years.
The Titans thought so much of Amato they gave him a five-year contract in 2005 to keep him in the fold through the 2009 season.
For Amato, that security is a good thing, because, thanks to some bad luck on special teams coverage, he has twice suffered season-ending injuries in the past three years, sending the Titans scrambling to find a replacement for him.
He broke his leg back in 2005, then was healthy in ’06 and the first part of last season before he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament last year against the Oakland Raiders in late October.
Amato said the ACL injury is the toughest one he has ever tried to recover from.
“That’s tough,” Amato said. “The beginning part of the injury was really hard because I’ve never had an injury like this. I know a few of the other guys have gone through it a couple of times. I feel for them, because one time is enough for me. Hopefully, it never happens again.”
His latest injury prompted the Titans to sign Jeremy Cain to handle long snaps and forced starting center Kevin Mawae into action for placement kicks.
Amato’s recovery has extended through the off-season as he has worked on the side with trainers while his teammates have gone through the organized team activities. Only receiver Roydell Williams, recovering from a broken ankle, has been out of the entire OTAs like Amato.
Amato’s goal is to be back in his old long-snapping role by training camp, which starts in seven weeks.
“Whenever they tell me. I just do what they tell me and go from there,” Amato said. “I hope to be back [by training camp].”