NASHVILLE – Just a few days into training camp this year, it was clear that Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown both looked – and felt – better than ever.
He’d undergone minor surgery on both knees during the offseason yet was running circles around Titans defensive backs.
“I’m so comfortable,” Brown said at the end of July. “I feel like I can do whatever I want to do when I want to do it. My confidence is just through the roof.”
So, it was a little surprising to see Brown sit out a number of practices as training camp wore on, making observers wonder whether those absences were part of a maintenance plan or whether he’d suffered some type of new setback.
He didn’t quite clear up that issue on Friday. But the good news for Titans fans is that – for the second day in a row – Brown was a full practice participant, and afterward pronounced himself ready to go for Sunday’s opener against Arizona. He’d missed Wednesday’s practice, sparking some concern.
“I feel real good,” Brown said. “Just know I’ll be good to go on Sunday. And (if) the same thing happens next year, I’ll be good to go.”
Heading into his third NFL season, the 6-foot, 226-pound Brown should once again be an integral part of a high-powered Titans offense. He topped 1,000 yards in each of his first two years in the league, doing so last season despite missing two games due to injury. Brown earned Pro Bowl honors for the first time in 2020, but says he still has plenty of room for improvement.
“Hands, speed, routes, finishing catches -- making the tough catches look easy,” Brown said. “Just being well-rounded all the time and making plays over and over again.”
The 2019 second-round pick out of Ole Miss is looking forward to playing opposite seven-time Pro-Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones, acquired by the Titans via trade during the offseason. Brown pushed hard for the trade on social media, and he and Jones have been nearly inseparable – on the field and off – since Jones moved to Nashville.
“He’s a true professional, a lot of unseen business he does -- the way he works, the way he talks, just everything,” Brown said. “On the field, off the field, he’s a pro.”
Brown also expects the presence of Jones, a likely future Hall of Famer, to provide motivation.
“For me, personally, if (Jones) makes a big play, I’m definitely trying to make a big play,” Brown said. “So, I’m definitely going to try to feed off (Jones), and use the momentum from each other, and build, just keep going. Because I know what type of player he is on the other side. I got to do my part to support him.”