NASHVILLE – This was supposed to be Anthony Firkser’s breakout season.
It still can be. However, one game into it the Tennessee Titans tight end broke down.
Firsker has missed the last two contests with a knee injury but looks to be on track for a return to the lineup Sunday against the New York Jets. He has not been removed from the injury report, but Firkser was a full participant in practice Thursday just as he was a day earlier.
Barring any kind of setback, there is now a clear expectation that he will be back in action against the team that gave him his first NFL opportunity. The Jets signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Harvard in 2017 but released him after four months.
“It will be nice to have him back, whenever that is,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “He is a playmaker for us, has made some huge plays over the last few years I have been here. He is a guy we have a lot of confidence in. Anytime you are missing a guy that you are used to having out there is tough, and you want to get him back out here as soon as you can.”
Firsker played 31 snaps in the opener against the Arizona Cardinals and caught three passes for 19 yards. His absence has allowed Geoff Swaim (five receptions, 37 yards) and MyCole Pruitt (four receptions, 50 yards) to get more playing time and to factor more prominently into the passing game.
Firsker set career-highs with 39 receptions and 387 yards in 2020 and re-signed during the offseason with the idea that he effectively would replace free agent Jonnu Smith, who signed with New England. Smith missed just one game in the previous two years.
The complete Titans-Jets injury report for Thursday:
Did not practice: WR A.J. Brown (hamstring), OLB Bud Dupree (knee), CB Caleb Farley (shoulder), RB Derrick Henry (not injury related-rest), WR Julio Jones (hamstring), P Brett Kern (right groin) and DL Larrell Murchison (elbow). Limited participation: G Rodger Saffold (shoulder) and DL Teair Tart (shoulder). Full participation: ILB Jayon Brown (hamstring), TE Anthony Firkser (knee), CB Kristian Fulton (ankle),T Taylor Lewan (toe)
NEW YORK JETS
Did not practice: WR Elijah Moore (concussion), RB La'Mical Perine (illness), WR Jeff Smith (concussion) and S Marcus Maye (ankle). Limited participation: WR Jamison Crowder (groin) and TE Tyler Kroft (rib).