NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Some familiar faces were back on the practice field for the Titans on Monday, and the group included receiver Rishard Matthews.
Matthews was taken off the team's Physically Unable to Perform list on Sunday.
"I am glad to be healthy now and get back on the field," he said Monday before practice. "I am very excited. It sucks being out there just watching. This is the longest I've been out from football. So it was tough. … I think the sky is the limit for our group, with a lot of talented young players."
Over the past two seasons, Matthews has led the team with 1,740 receiving yards and 13 touchdown receptions, and he's ranked second on the team behind tight end Delanie Walker with 118 catches. His 14.7 yards per reception average ranks ninth among all NFL players with at least 100 receptions during that time.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel complimented Matthews after practice.
"That was great, just to watch his attitude," Vrabel said. "It's a good reminder for young players, and a lot of players, that even though you can't be out on the practice field, there's a way to be professional about getting back, and working your way back in and staying around the team, and working hard.
"And when the time is right, and you are ready to get back into practice, know what to do and be able to go out and function and not be behind."
Titans first-round pick Rashaan Evans was on the practice field in uniform on Monday, and he worked individually with Vrabel.
But the head coach said Evans didn't practice in full.
Evans said his No.1 focus is to be back for the team's regular season opener against the Dolphins, and he sounded optimistic about his chances.
"That game right there, that will be the No.1 thing on my mind there, that first game," Evans. "These three weeks have been super long for me, and for me to have a chance to be back out there will be great. That is definitely the plan for right now."
While Vrabel said Evans had a better day on Monday compared to a practice when he was pulled out last week, the head coach said the rookie still isn't quite ready.
"He hasn't practiced, so I don't know if he's in a position to eye any game until he goes through some practices," Vrabel said. "I am sure he is excited about trying to get back, but there's a protocol we have to follow before throwing him out there, because that is not fair to him or anybody else, to put him out there when he is not ready.
"We'll take a look at it and see how he feels after doing some stuff today and hopefully do some more stuff tomorrow and potentially try to get him into some team reps."
In addition to Matthews and Evans, several other Titans were spotted back in uniform after missing time.
Some of them practiced more than others.
Tight end Delanie Walker, linebacker Brian Orakpo, cornerback Malcolm Butler, and running back Akrum Wadley were all in uniform during the open portion of practice.
Linebacker Harold Landry, linebacker Derrick Morgan, linebacker Sharif Finch, safety Kendrick Lewis, and receiver Nick Williams did not practice on Monday.
Jack Conklin, who remain on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list, worked on a side field.
The Tennessee Titans take the field for practice on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)