NASHVILLE – D'Onta Foreman was a man without a football team the first half of this season.
As he watched NFL games on Sundays, the running back could only hope for a chance.
"I would be at home, and I would say to myself, 'Man, I just want the opportunity, somebody give me the opportunity and trust in me and just give me the opportunity,' Foreman said. "Just being at home, I guess I just felt like I could go out there and just play my game and play well."
Foreman is glad that chance came with the Titans, who needed him following Derrick Henry's foot injury back on October 31.
And the team feels fortunate to have him for a second stint.
Foreman, of course, played in six games for the Titans in 2020 as Henry's back-up. He carried the ball 22 times for 95 yards last year.
"We had him last year and we are very comfortable with him," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Foreman. "He showed the ability to fit into our run scheme as well as hit some runs. I think he is a very good natural runner. I think he catches the ball well. He has tried to improve. He runs hard. He is decisive.
"I think probably the biggest thing that I am most proud of is he had the unfortunate fumble in New England after he broke through on a run. Same thing happened yesterday, and you saw him protect the football as guys were coming from behind and trying to knock it out of there. All you can do is ask that players are aware of that, they understand they maybe made a mistake, and they are conscious of not making the same mistake twice. He had a great day for us Sunday and hopefully he will be able to continue to help us."
Yes, Foreman had a nice day on Sunday, as he rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in the team's 34-3 win over the Dolphins.
Since signing with the Titans back on November 2, Foreman has 497 rushing yards and three touchdowns, with a 4.4-yard average on 112 carries. The big back has three 100-yard rushing yards in the past five games, as his comfort level has grown in the offense.
"I have been feeling it the last few weeks, just getting more comfortable," Foreman said. "Just getting back to the flow of everything. I was at home, and when you first come back it's not easy to just jump in and just go have 100-yard games, or just go out there and be explosive. So, it takes time, you know? Build chemistry with the other guys. But, I mean, I don't know man. I am just so thankful for everything that has been given to me at this point and I am just trying to capitalize on every opportunity that I am given.
"I am grateful just to be back out there, playing the game that I love."
What happens next for the Titans in the running game will be worth watching.
While running backs Foreman, Dontrell Hilliard (293 rushing yards, 2 TDs) and Jeremy McNichols (156 rush yards along with 28 catches for 240 yards and a score in 2021) have performed well in Henry's absence, Vrabel said on Monday the team has been discussing Henry's return to practice.
Once the Titans designate Henry for return, the team will have a 21-day window to activate him to the roster. The return of last year's Offensive Player of the Year, who compiled 937 yards and 10 TDs in eight games this year before his injury, would certainly change things.
Foreman, who played for the Texans in 2017 and 2018 before joining the Titans in 2020, said he's willing to do whatever is asked of him moving forward.
"I think my approach was, not try to fill big shoes," Foreman said of replacing Henry. "I think the approach was go out there and play my game, do what I can do to help the team. I mean, Derrick is Derrick, you know what I mean? He is a great running back -- I think the best in the league. So, to be able to come in, just try to help this team and fill in where he left off, it was a challenge for sure because I am a competitor. So, I never wanted anybody looking at me like I couldn't do it or I couldn't get the job done. I never tried to compare myself to him or do anything he was doing. I just wanted to go out there and be as effective as I could be and help this team win games.
"I am not sure what the plan is (moving forward), but whatever my role will be, I am going to do my role, do everything I can to help the team win. At the end of the day, the Titans gave me this opportunity, so I am just so thankful. There is never anything that I wouldn't do to not be excited. Even if I am on the bench or even whatever my role would be, I am just here to do my job, do my part and help this team win games, man."