NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Brian Orakpo returned to the practice field for the Titans this week, and it was well-timed.
The veteran linebacker suffered a setback early in training camp, which forced him into weeks of recovery and rehab -- and watching.
"I am just happy to be back," Orakpo said. "It feels good, to be back out there with the boys, and bring a different type of energy and enthusiasm, what I always bring to the table.
"I am just excited to be back out there with the fellas. It's been a long time. I am just happy I am back out there and rolling. That is the most important thing, just being out there with the fellas."
Orakpo, who had seven sacks in 2017, has worked on a side field the past two days before practice with head coach Mike Vrabel.
At the position, outside linebacker Derrick Morgan and Harold Landry have also been slowed by injuries, and Sharif Finch has missed practice time as well.
Orakpo said the most important thing is getting everyone back on September 9 for the regular season opener at Miami.
"I am trying to be as full-go, and as 100 percent as possible for the games that matter," he said. "Yeah, we would like to have everybody ready to go in preseason. But injuries happen, you see it across the league. So if we can take our time, getting everybody when need be, we'll be ready to go for Miami.
"The main goal is to get to Miami, and I am glad we are all on the same page."
Spots up for grabs?
The Titans currently have 90 players on the team's roster.
By 3 p.m. Saturday, all NFL teams must be down to 53 players.
Vrabel said spots can still be won heading into the team's final preseason game against the Vikings.
"I'd like to think that when I was grinding my way through the early part of my career, I went out there, and I felt like my performance mattered and that it went a long way for guys watching the film were very conscious and respectful of the guys that are going to be finishing out that game Thursday night," Vrabel said..
"Having been one of those guys, I'll see to it that it's taken very seriously, that the players that aren't in the game are supporting them, taking it very seriously. I think there are still some spots available. You'd have to ask Jon (Robinson), but certainly in my mind there are. I'll have that conversation, and we'll talk about it whether it be special teams or who can help you playing those fifth corner spots or tight end spots, running back spots. There's a lot to it that goes into forming a roster. There's not just a blueprint that's like OK we keep this many guys, this many guys, offense has this many guys.
In addition to Landry, Morgan and Finch, safety Kendrick Lewis, receiver Nick Williams and running back Akrum Wadley did not practice on Tuesday.
Right tackle Jack Conklin, who remain on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list, worked on a side field.
Vrabel was asked about Conklin's status on Tuesday.
"I would say that he's progressing well," Vrabel said. "You guys probably see him more than I do. He's I guess working out when I'm coaching. From the few glances that I get, it looks pretty good and then from the reports that I get, it's been good, but he's still on PUP, so we'll have to wait and see where Jon (Robinson) and Todd (Toriscelli) and myself kind of go after this weekend."
The Tennessee Titans take the field for practice on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)