NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Some players looked forward to the first practice in pads more than others.
Consider Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo among those who couldn't get on the field fast enough.
Orakpo put shoulder pads on Sunday for the first time since Oct. 19, when he suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in a game against the Titans. He was placed on Injured Reserve a few days later, and spent the rest of the season as a spectator.
Needless to say, Orakpo was ready to go Sunday.
"It had been a while, man,'' Orakpo said with a smile. "October was the last time I'd strapped up, so it was exciting. It felt like normal, just being back in the huddle breaking it down with the guys. Not just having a script in my hand, I was out there making plays so it really felt great out there.
"It felt good. Pads bring a different dimension to the game, physicality steps up, everybody's intensity steps up."
Orakpo, a three-time Pro Bowler with the Redskins, was explosive in pass rushing drills, and had a burst throughout practice.
After being limited in the offseason while recovering, Orakpo is quickly making up for lost time after signing with the Titans back in March.
His teammates have taken notice, especially those who line up against him.
"Brian, man, he is a tricky guy. He has a lot of moves,'' tight end Delanie Walker said. "When you look at him he is very big and you don't think he has those types of moves. I am excited to see what he is going to do this season."
Tackle Taylor Lewan has faced Orakpo in practices in recent days as well.
"He is everything people think of him in a positive way," Lewan said. "When we played Washington last year, I was sweating bullets. He is so fast-twitch, and the guy has so much power behind him. He is hard to move in run blocking and hard to slow down in pass protection. I love playing against him and it has definitely made me a better football player in the last few days."
Orakpo, who racked up 40 sacks during the past six seasons with the Redskins, is looking forward to making a difference on a new team.
He's encouraged by what he's seen around him, and is now counting the days to the start of the season.
"I welcome the challenge with open arms,'' Orakpo said. "I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the best I can every time I step on the field and I try and let that transfer to the game. I know what I can bring to the table."
Titans Online looks at the career of new Titans LB Brian Orakpo, a three-time Pro Bowler who began his first six seasons with the Washington Redskins. (AP Photos)