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Rookie Matthews Excited for Chance to Play vs. Texans



Rookie Kevin Matthews could see his first regular season playing time when the Titans take on the Houston Texans Sunday at LP Field.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --** Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews started 292 of 296 games in 19 seasons with the Oilers/Titans franchise.

His son Kevin moved a step closer to game action Wednesday when Tennessee signed the rookie offensive lineman off its practice squad to its 53-man roster.

Kevin Matthews filled the roster spot vacated when the Titans placed defensive tackle Tony Brown on season-ending injured reserve. He may be asked to add depth to the offensive line, which will finish the season without Eugene Amano, who was placed on injured reserve Monday.

If Kevin Matthews is active and plays Sunday, his dad will have a good view—from the Houston Texans' sideline where he is now an assistant coach. The 23-year-old said Wednesday that his dad had already found out about him being added to the Titans' 53-man roster.

"I'm excited to get the opportunity to be bumped up and contribute on this team," the rookie said. "Being a practice squad guy, it's something that you've been working for every week. The week just happened to work out perfectly where we're playing against Houston, where my dad coaches. I couldn't be more excited to get out there and see him and get some action."

Titans coach Jeff Fisher said the timing was a coincidence. Fernando Velasco, who relieved Amano after he suffered a neck stinger against Indianapolis, will start in place of the seven-year pro.

"Kevin gives us the ability to have someone who can play both positions—center and guard—that's what we lost with Eugene. This way we could minimize moves. He's just real excited to be called up to the 'varsity.' "

Britt gets 'into' yoga

Second-year receiver Kenny Britt returned to the Titans' lineup against the Colts after a hamstring injury sidelined him for five games. Britt brought a spunk to Tennessee's offense and caught four passes for 39 yards in his return.

Titans fans are hoping Britt can duplicate the production he had prior to the injury when he caught seven passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns in the Titans' last win (Oct. 24 against Philadelphia).

"I'm feeling a little bit better than last week," Britt said. "I'm still feeling it a little bit in my hamstring but I loosened it up a little bit through a little yoga over the weekend and stuff, so I hope I do much better than I did last week.

"This will be the second time that I've really tried to participate in (yoga)," Britt added. "We've had to do it over the years but I really wasn't 'into it' but it is helping my hamstring out, and I plan on continuing to do it."

Britt used his time on the sidelines to learn aspects of other receiving spots, opening the possibility that he and in-season acquisition Randy Moss may line up on the field at the same time.

"We've got so many different receivers that can do so many different things," Britt said. "We need all of our receivers in the game at different times."

D-line tries to move on without Brown

Brown ended his sixth season with 35 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 10 quarterback pressures and two tackles for loss in 11 games this season despite recurring knee problems that limited his practice time.

He battled through a knee injury last season when he led the Titans with 25 quarterback pressures, had a career-high of five sacks and was the first alternate for the Pro Bowl, and was bothered by the other knee this season. Fisher said it was frustrating that the knee problem kept Brown from his total potential this season.

"Everyone needs to practice, and Tony got to the point where he was having a hard time protecting himself," Fisher said. "It was a courageous effort throughout the year playing with a great deal of pain and trying to help us win and be productive on defense."

Fisher gave players an extended period of off time following the Dec. 9 game against the Colts to rest and recover for the final three games.

Second-year defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, who was injured Nov. 28 in Houston and missed the next two games, returned to practice Wednesday. Third-year defensive tackle Jason Jones, who played against Indianapolis, is continuing to get better, Fisher said.

The Titans also signed rookie defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard to their 53-man roster Monday after Amano was placed on injured reserve.

"We really liked him coming out," Fisher said of Sheppard. "He is very strong, explosive, he has good feet and a very smart guy—Wash (defensive line coach Jim Washburn) was extremely impressed with how quickly he picked things up (Wednesday). He's one of those effort guys that kind of fits us well."

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