NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans just wrapped up practice on Friday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
On Sunday, the team will open the regular season against the Vikings at Nissan Stadium.
Three quick hits after today's practice…
Remembering his brother**
It's Marine Week in Nashville, and on Sunday Titans receiver Rishard Matthews plans to shake hands with every Marine he sees.
He knows he'll have his brother on his mind.
It's been almost a year since Christopher Ruiz was killed while serving as a retired Marine working as a private defense contractor in Afghanistan. Christopher Ruiz was Matthews' half-brother, but the two were close. They had been family since Matthews was 5-years-old, when Christopher's mom married Rishard's dad, who served 21 years in the Marines himself.
"I think about him every day,'' Matthews said. "Not a day goes by when I don't think about him. Men and women like him are the reason why we're free. It's unfortunate, but he died for his country and that's what he wanted to do growing up. So I'll definitely be thinking about him."
Ruiz served in the Marines for 10 years, and served overseas in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was in Afghanistan last October working as a civilian contractor, training locals to fight for their country, when he was killed. Ruiz was one of six U.S. Airmen and five other civilian contractors killed in the crash of an Air Force C-130 as it tried to put down at the Jalalabad Airfield on Oct. 2.
Matthews, in his first season with the Titans, wears a bracelet with the words "Forever by my side.' It has his brother's name on it, along with the Marines logo. He wears it every day.
While standing on the sideline for the National Anthem on September 11, Matthews said he'll think about the military, his brother, and the victims of September 11, 2001. On Sunday, the NFL and its clubs will honor those who lost their lives on the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001.
The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon will perform at halftime.
"This week is obviously a very memorable time that I don't think anyone will ever forget,'' Matthews said. "My dad was a Marine for so long, that's my life right there. It means a lot. They're the reason we are able to do what we do, and I love when people show support and give back and keep recognizing the ones who put their lives on the line for us.
"I will definitely go and shake all their hands. It's something I have done whenever I see Marines specifically. Servicemen and servicewomen in general, they are the ones that help us do what we do, so it's good to recognize them."
Kline arrives, practices
Former Patriots offensive lineman Josh Kline, claimed off waivers by the Titans on Thursday, arrived in town last night and practiced with his new teammates on Friday.
Kline adds experience and depth to the interior offensive line.
Kline (6-3, 300) played in 14 games for the Patriots last season, including 13 starts – seven at right guard and six at left guard. He also started at left guard for both of the team's playoff contests.
"It's good I found a home here in Nashville, and I'm glad to be a Titan," Kline said. "I am ready to get to work because I have a lot of learning to do. I have to learn and know my place and know my role on this team."
Originally signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2013, Kline has played in 33 games over the past three seasons, with 18 starts.
"(He adds) depth to our offensive line, which I think never can hurt,'' Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of Kline. "Obviously, we have to get him up to speed with our system, but I have no doubt he can pick it up quickly.
"Right now, I'm pretty set with our O-line. I mean just the way we ended the preseason, I was pretty confident in what they're doing. … (Josh) is exactly what we stand for. I think that's why it was good to get him. It's not like somebody who has to learn our culture. He already kind of is built that way."
Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau turned 79 on Friday, and the Titans congratulated him.
"It was the first thing in the team meeting this morning,'' Mularkey said. "We wished him a happy birthday, and I think he said he just qualified for social security today. … He says he's counting down, not counting up."
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series between the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings. (AP Photos)