NASHVILLE – Perhaps no one needs the return of an NFL preseason more than Mason Kinsey.
The Tennessee Titans formally announced the addition of the wide receiver prospect to their 2021 roster Thursday via a futures contract. Kinsey posted pictures of himself signing that pact last week.
Kinsey was one of the more interesting hopefuls on the 2020 roster given that he is the first player from Berry College, an NCAA Division III institution, to sign an NFL contract. He spent the entire offseason with the Titans and had two stints on the New England Patriots’ practice squad during the regular season.
Among the adjustments the NFL made in 2020 due to the coronavirus was the cancellation of all preseason games. That meant he did not get the opportunity to show how he matched up against NFL-caliber players in more competitive situation than practices.
When the regular season started, there were seven players from Division III programs among the 32 teams’ 53-man rosters. Six of the seven already were established NFL players. Another was on injured reserve, and Kinsey was one of two on practice squads.
At 5-foot-10, 198 pounds, Kinsey does not have unusual size, but he did put up big numbers in college. He caught 203 passes for 3,343 yards and 50 touchdowns, all of which are program records. The last two also set Southern Athletic Association marks. He also got experience as a kickoff and punt returner.
The expectation is that the NFL will expand the regular season to 17 games for 2021, which would mean the preseason will be reduced to three or two games from the four that have been the norm since 1978. Even one preseason game would be invaluable to Kinsey, who already has shown enough that the Titans want to take another look at him.