NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Keenan Reynolds has played quarterback his entire life. These days, the Navy football star hopes to prove to NFL teams he can do so much more. On Friday, the Nashville native presented his case in his own backyard -- while working out for the Titans as part of the team's local visit day.
"I feel like it went really well,'' Reynolds, who scored a record-breaking 88 career touchdowns at Navy, said afterward. "I was able to come out here and show what I could do at a bunch of different positions – as a specialist, throwing the ball a little bit, running it, catching it, all that stuff.
"It was pretty cool."
Outfitted in Titans workout gear – but wearing his Navy gloves, and Navy shorts underneath – the former Goodpasture Christian School star was one of 15 local prospects who worked out in front of team officials at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
It's safe to say the highly decorated Reynolds got the most attention, even though he now considers himself a bit of an underdog. The 5-10, 190-pounder wasn't invited to the NFL Combine.
Reynolds worked early with running backs coach Sylvester Croom. Later, he caught passes from quarterbacks coach Jason Michael. Reynolds threw passes as well.
Near the end of the workout, he even fielded punts from the JUGS machine, with Titans general manager Jon Robinson just a few yards away.
"I wanted to show them my versatility,'' said Reynolds, who said he's also received attention from other NFL teams. "I am an athlete and can do a lot of different things. I am capable of learning whatever position that is and willing to put in the hard work and the hours needed to come out and work on the craft.
"I am hungry to prove it. I am starving. I feel like every time I go out on the field I have to prove that I can play, that I can be out here and compete with the highest level of athletes."
One conversation really caused Reynolds to perk up. It was with Titans coach Mike Mularkey, who talked with Reynolds about some versatile athletes he coached in Pittsburgh.
Area draft prospects work out for Titans coaches and scouts at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
"He let me know about Antwaan Randle El and Hines Ward, and that those guys played for him,'' Reynolds said of the former Steelers. "That was definitely was a game-changer for me."
Robinson, who went to the Air Force Academy out of high school before transferring to Southeast Missouri State, gave Reynolds a thumbs-up sign after watching him catch punts. Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robinskie and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau watched the workout, along Titans director of college scouting Blake Beddingfield and other members of the coaching and scouting departments.
Reynolds ended his career at Navy with a 32-13 record, and he finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting. Reynolds rushed for 4,559 yards and 88 touchdowns at Navy while playing quarterback. He also passed for over 4,000 yards in his collegiate career.
"He is a really good football player,'' Robinson said of Reynolds. "He ran for a lot of yards, threw for a lot of yards. I really respect his commitment to this country. Having done it briefly myself, I have a lot of admiration for his ability to endure those four years at the academy."
So what position is Reynolds best-suited for in the NFL?
"He is quick, he is a tough guy to tackle, and he is elusive. He is an instinctive guy with the ball in his hands,'' Robinson said. "Where does he project? I think he could play a number of positions – running back, slot receiver, some special packages at quarterback. When you have a guy like him it creates unique opportunities for the offense."
Reynolds said after his workout on Friday he's confident in his abilities to play in the NFL.
He's also excited about serving his five-year military commitment.
But Reynolds is hoping his football career isn't finished yet. Players from the armed forces academies are eligible to postpone their commitment if they're granted a delay due to professional sports opportunities. But the Navy makes those decisions on a case-by-case basis.
"I always say service is paramount, that is why I went to the academy and I am very proud of the opportunity to serve my country,'' Reynolds said. "I think it is a blessing I have an opportunity to serve my country and it's also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at the highest level in the sport of football.
"I just want a shot. Hopefully I'll get drafted, and if not, then (I'm signed in) free agency. If the Navy gives me an opportunity to go to camp, I feel like am going to make the team."