NASHVILLE – Whole grains, refined grains and starchy vegetables.
They don’t generally rank up there with blocking, tackling and execution when it comes to winning football games.
But for Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown, his ability to maintain a strict – and boring -- diet leading up to Sunday’s contest against Kansas City may go a long way to determining how well he plays.
“We are feeling a little better,” Brown said Friday, nearly a full week after he was waylaid by a bout of food poisoning that kept him from practicing Wednesday and Thursday. “I’ve just got to be selective as to what I eat, that’s all. Like a lot of real bland items, like mashed potatoes, rice and bread.”
Brown first began experiencing symptoms last weekend, significant enough that the Titans downgraded him to questionable last Sunday due to sickness. He gutted through Monday’s game against Buffalo, posting seven catches – all in the second half – for 91 yards. But he revealed after the contest that he’d lost eight pounds in a couple of days, needing 3.5 IVs on gameday to get through the contest.
“I’m telling you, it was bad,” Brown said, shaking his head.
Brown said the illness stemmed from a bad meal at a local Chipotle restaurant, prompting him to not only swear off Chipotle, but all fast-food restaurants … forever.
“I am so serious,” Brown said. “The way I was feeling, guys, I’m telling you ... No fast food for me. If I’m not eating at a five-star restaurant or something like that, I’m eating at home. I’ll cook.”
Teammate Marcus Johnson wasn’t necessarily buying Brown’s dietary decision.
“I think that’s maybe just for the season he’s saying that,” a smiling Johnson said. “I am sure once the offseason kicks in, he’ll ease back over to whatever his spots are and get some fast food.”
Might Johnson’s own appetite be factoring into his opinion? That’s certainly a possibility.
Johnson noted he has “a lot of love for Chipotle,” specifically menu items such as the hard-shell tacos and bowls.
Brown acknowledged that Chipotle did reach out to him during the past week, hoping to learn the particular location at which Brown had eaten – and also looking to make amends.
Perhaps, it was suggested, Chipotle might be willing to offer Brown plenty of free food.
“I’m not going to eat it,” Brown said.
No second chance?
“No, Sir,” Brown said.
Countered Johnson: “They need to holler at me. I’ll talk to them.”
The bottom line, no pun intended, is that Brown appears healthy and ready for the Chiefs. He was a full participant in Friday’s practice and – despite the fact he’s still receiving IVs – said his strength is good.
“He looked great out there (Friday),” wide receiver Julio Jones, listed as questionable with a hamstring strain, said. “I don’t mess with him because I done had food poisoning before. It’s not a good feeling.
“But he was chippy (Friday). He looked good.”