It was one of the most memorable moments of the Tennessee Titans’ offseason. For most, that is.
A.J. Brown’s revelation, via an anesthesia-influenced video streamed on social media, that he had surgery on both knees a little more than a week after his team’s playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens was a rare moment of raw honesty in an era when information and messaging often are carefully controlled by athletes, their teams or both. The Titans, for example, are loath to discuss any details about a player’s health, regardless of the time of year, and in his video, Brown acknowledged that he would likely hear from coach Mike Vrabel, even though it was just as likely he had no idea what he was doing at the time.
Months later, the Pro Bowl wide receiver does not consider it one of his finest moments.
“I definitely thought it was embarrassing,” Brown said Wednesday. “I’m not that player, and I don’t want attention. I’m not in it for accolades. For me, I just want to be the best.
“A lot of guys were giving me a hard time about it. They know that’s not me, (and) they were just making fun of me. But it was embarrassing.”
The physical effects of that day have not fully subsided either.
Brown is still in recovery from the procedures, a reality that has kept him out of on-field work during this week’s mandatory mini-camp. That means he has not been able to work with newly acquired wide receiver Julio Jones, whose availability on the trade market also sent Brown to social media.
“It’s been a real slow grind for me,” he said. “Been doing a lot of lifting weights, cardio, film – just watching, just trying to learn as much as possible. Not kill time, but to make the most of it, to be honest.”
Thursday will be the end of the minicamp. The next time the team will be together after that will be the start of training camp at the end of July.
Coming off a season in which he caught 70 passes for 1,075 yards and 11 touchdowns, he will find an offensive playbook that features more for him to do than in his first two years. After all, he scored at least one touchdown in 10 of the final 13 games, topped 100 yards receiving four times during that stretch and did it all after the start of the knee issues, which sidelined him in Weeks 2 and 3 and eventually led to the surgeries.
“They’re kind of asking to put a little more on me this year, which is fine,” he said. “They can’t put more on than I can put on myself already. It’s all good. I’ll be ready.”
Of course, it will help if he is back to full health and able to practice at the start of training camp. No one will say so with any certainty, but that is the expectation.
“I’m excited,” Brown said. “Excited to get back on the field and get back out there with my teammates. Just to be out there again.
“I’ve just been rehabbing. I’ve been taking it slow. And I’ll be back out there soon.”
Just don’t look for him to be on social media from a hospital room again anytime soon.