NASHVILLE – When former Titans tight end Delanie Walker went down with a gruesome ankle injury in the season opener at Miami in 2018, the impact was felt all the way in Houston.
Walker's injury resulted in an address change for another tight end, MyCole Pruitt. Because the day after Walker's season-ending injury, the Titans signed Pruitt off of Houston's practice squad.
And ever since, Pruitt has made the most of the opportunity in Tennessee.
Pruitt, who is headed into his fifth NFL season, has carved out a nice role for himself with the Titans. After signing a contract extension with the Titans this offseason, Pruitt is expected to provide versatility for the team again during the 2020 season alongside fellow tight ends Jonnu Smith and Anthony Firkser.
"I feel like this is a great fit for me, ever since the first day I came in it was a family atmosphere. I felt welcome, I felt like I could carve out a role and I have done that," Pruitt said. "I want to just get better at that as we go into this year.
A look back at tight end MyCole Pruitt's 2019 season. (Photos: Donald Page)
"In the NFL it is all about finding the right situation, and I feel like I found that here. There's a lot of things that were able to line up for me, and when I came here, I had to find that niche and carve that niche and get better at that. I pride myself in being versatile and being able to do many different things, and whatever I am called upon to do I am going to execute that to the best of my ability."
A 6-foot-2, 245-pounder, Pruitt played in all 19 games, with 11 starts, for the Titans in 2019, including the team's three playoff contests. During the regular season, Pruitt caught just six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, but he was a big contributor in the running game as a blocker.
Proof of that can be found in a photo taken the day running back Derrick Henry clinched the NFL's single-season rushing mark for the 2019 season in Houston, Pruitt's old stomping grounds.
On the sideline, in the closing moments of that game, Henry was seen giving Pruitt a big bear hug.
"MyCole has a level of versatility, he's one of those players that we talk about that plays more than one position," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Pruitt. "He plays on the line as a tight end, he plays off, we've had him in the backfield, he helps us on special teams, and so, to be able to do that, that fills a lot of jobs and he's got a good understanding of what we're asking him to do on offense and on first and second-down offense."
Drafted in the fifth-round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Vikings, Pruitt played in 16 games in Minnesota during his rookie season. In 2016, after being waived by Minnesota late in the season and signed back to the team's practice squad, the Bears came calling, and signed him to their 53-man roster.
Pruitt was waived by the Bears at the start of the 2017 season, and he then joined the Bills for a short stint. Then it was on to Houston, and eventually Tennessee.
Pruitt, who has 27 catches for 294 yards and two touchdowns during his career, said it meant a lot to him to be re-signed by the Titans this offseason.
"It just shows that hard work doesn't go unnoticed around here," he said. "Coach Vrabel always says: 'We're going to treat you how you treat your team', and I felt like that extension shows that is a fact, and that's something we do around here, and that's something we believe in around here."
Now Pruitt is ready to go out and do what's asked of him in 2020.
He's excited about the team, and the group of tight ends around him, led by tight ends coach Todd Downing.
"We try to teach our mentality out there (on the practice field every day): We believe that we should be the best run-blocking group out there, as well as the best pass-catching tight end group out there. We pride ourselves in our versatility and being able to do it all on the field," Pruitt said.
"(As a group), we are very versatile, and we can get things done."