Antonio Andrews Not Backing Down from Competition

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Antonio Andrews rose to the top of the top of the team's depth chart at running back last season, adding another chapter to his underdog story in the process.

Now, Andrews finds himself fighting for survival.

With the addition of veteran DeMarco Murray and a talented rookie in Derrick Henry, Andrews knows he has to prove himself all over again with the Titans.

So, what's new?

"People count me out every year, but that's just fuel to the fire, and motivation,'' Andrews said. "I am not trying to make no best friends. I am trying to feed my family.

"So it's the same mindset as I've always had – be the starter and keep working hard and stay consistent."

Andrews, who played in four games in 2014 after making the team as an undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky, led the Titans in rushing with 520 yards and three touchdowns last season. He also caught 21 passes for 174 yards.

Things have changed since then, though. Following the trade for Murray, the team drafted Henry, last year's Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama, in the second round. The Titans also have running backs Bishop Sankey, David Cobb and David Fluellen in the mix.

Andrews said it's a tight group, despite the competition.

"I am real cool with DeMarco -- we are locker buddies so we are clowning all the time,'' Andrews said. "I've talked to Derrick a little bit, too. We are a close group, and we talk to each other.

"There's a lot of competition, but that will make us better. The reps are limited so when you do something you want to do your best. The competition will be upped because reps are limited and you have to perform."

Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Andrews has responded well to the competition, like the other backs.

"(He's been) very positive,'' Mularkey said of Andrews. "That's one thing I'll give credit to that group, if anything they've all picked up their game. They're all much more detailed. We're making less mistakes. You see no body language that has affected them and what we're doing at that position. That's one group I've been really pleased with the way they come out to work every day."

Andrews, who worked his way up to the active roster from the practice squad in 2014, said he was pleased with his accomplishments last season. While he kicked himself at the end of the year after a missed blocking assignment against the Patriots led to quarterback Marcus Mariota being sacked – and injured – and a fumble that was scooped up and returned for a score against the Texans, he felt he answered the call.

Heading into training camp, Andrews is fully aware not every running back on the roster now will make the team.

He plans to do everything possible to convince the Titans he's worthy.

"They know what I can do and they know I am only getting better,'' Andrews said. "I don't really worry about (the number of backs who will make it). We had a lot of running backs my rookie year, and last year we had a lot of tight ends. So you never know.

"(Last year) I reached my personal goal by becoming a starter, even if the season didn't go as planned. But I know everyone is getting better, and we've made some moves. So it is real competitive now.

"You just have to compete,'' Andrews continued. "At the end of the day, I am an undrafted free agent, whether I was a starter last year or not. I am an undrafted free agent and I am going to bring everything I can to the table."

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