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Running Back Hopes to Find a Home With Titans

Jordan Wilkins rooted for the team and admired Eddie George as a youth in Memphis.

NASHVILLE – Jordan Wilkins is not terribly interested in his past, particularly not in his relatively recent past when he was with the Indianapolis Colts.

There was a moment, however, during this offseason – his first as a member of the Tennessee Titans – that the Memphis native suddenly found himself transported all the way back to his youth. It was a day when former Titans running back Eddie George showed up during the team’s offseason training program.

“It was just crazy to see him,” Wilkins recalled. “I’m like, ‘That’s Eddie George.’ Just seeing where you came from [to get to this point] is pretty neat.

“I’m 27 years old, so you wouldn’t think I’m a fan boy. But I am.”

Wilkins never saw the Titans play in person during his childhood but the three-time all-state running back at Auburndale envisioned himself doing the same types of things George did.

And one of the first times he played at Nissan Stadium, Wilkins showed the football world what he could do. He gained 82 yards on five carries for the Colts in 19-17 victory over the Titans in Week 2 of the 2019 season. His 55-yard run in the fourth quarter set up the game-winning touchdown.

“Every time I get an opportunity to play here in Nashville it’s a huge thing for me and my family,” he said. “So, I just try to make the most of it.”

That is exactly what he has tried to do over the last several months.

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Wilkins missed just three games in his first three seasons with Indianapolis but fell out of favor in 2021. He played in each of last season’s first four games but logged just one snap on offense. After being inactive for three games, he was released.

He landed in Tennessee as a member of the practice squad in early December after a month with Jacksonville in which he did see any game action. The Titans designated him as a gameday elevation to the active roster for the regular-season finale against Houston, and he played on special teams.

“Toward the end – I don’t want to talk about the past with the Colts, but– I kind of got in a stagnant place where I couldn’t get on the field or whatever,” Wilkins said. “It was just kind of set like that.

“So, it’s kind of exciting here to be able to be able to build, improve, have new coaches seeing what I can do. And just showing my talent.”

At 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, Wilkins is not a power back in the mold of George or current Titans’ workhorse Derrick Henry. For his career, though, he has averaged just shy of five yards per carry and has 951 rushing yards overall. His long run against Tennessee in 2019 still stands as the longest of his career.

After bouncing around last year, he hopes to settle in this fall and carve out a role among a running backs group that includes Henry, Dontrell Hilliard and rookie Hassan Haskins.

“It’s always frustrating when you don’t have a set place to be,” Wilkins said. “But, you know, it’s all part of the business, part of the job. It’s hard to get in and stay in – and that’s the goal.

“As a five-year vet now, it’s just do whatever I can – whatever they need me to do – come in and do my role and do it to the best of my ability.”