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Concussion Creates Lingering Uncertainty for Humphries, Titans

Recent injury history, current contract terms cloud the veteran wide receiver's future with the team.

Adam Humphries arguably took one the hardest and nastiest hits of the 2020 NFL season. And he paid for it and then some.

At the end of the first half of a Week 8 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Tennessee Titans wide receiver suffered a concussion after a defender delivered a pulverizing blow while he attempted to catch a pass. He missed four games before returning to action on Dec. 6 against the Cleveland Browns, only to be placed on injured-reserve days later, where he remained the rest of the year.

This week, general manager Jon Robinson didn’t exactly give a definitive answer on if Humphries would return to action next season. Right now, the Titans will have to wait and see.

“There’s nothing more important – we’ve said it a million times – than the health and the safety of our players. That was a pretty tough hit he took there,” Robinson said. “We’re just continuing to monitor and talk to the doctors and talk to (Humphries), and make sure he’s back to normal and just kind of see how that goes.”

Humphries missed nine games over the course of the 2020 season in which he caught 23 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns -- the lowest output of his career. His best game of the season came in a Week 6 overtime victory over the Houston Texans, when he caught all six of the passes thrown his way for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Injury issues have been at the forefront of his time with Tennessee.

The 2019 season -- his first as a member of the Titans -- was equally as frustrating for Humphries, who signed a four-year, $36 million deal with the Titans in March of that year and then missed the final four regular season and first two of the postseason due to an ankle injury. In the 12 games prior to the injury, he caught 37 passes for 474 yards and a pair of touchdowns (the second-lowest output of his career).

With his salary cap number set to rise to $9.75 million in 2021 and $11.25 million in 2022, and the team currently facing a cap crunch, his injury history creates uncertainty about whether the Titans should release him and move on with someone else.

When healthy, Humphries can be a consistent option at wide receiver. Undrafted out of Clemson in 2015, he spent the first four years of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had his best years there when he played at least 15 games in a season. From 2016-2018, he did just that, catching at least 55 passes for more than 600 yards and one touchdown in each of those three seasons. His best season was 2018, when he played in all 16 games and set career highs in receptions (76), yards (816) and receiving touchdowns (5).

With the Titans unlikely to bring Corey Davis back, wide receiver has become a need. Outside of Pro Bowler A.J. Brown, who has gone over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, the Titans do not have much depth at the position.

A healthy Humphries would certainly be a benefit. For now, though, the Titans just hope he can get to that point.

“We’re constantly in discussions with our training staff on where those guys are at, he’s (Todd Toriscelli) monitoring all that,” Robinson said. “Whenever they’re cleared and good to go, he gives me the thumbs up. We’re still working through all of that with a lot of guys.”