Titans Get WR Justin Hunter's Attention with Green-Beckham Trade



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — **Titans general manager Jon Robinson said he wasn't trying to make a statement by trading receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to the Eagles for offensive lineman Dennis Kelly.

A few minutes later on Tuesday afternoon, Titans coach Mike Mularkey echoed Robinson's comments. There's no hidden message, he insisted.

Intended or not, the move got fourth-year receiver Justin Hunter's attention. And he's feeling a greater sense of urgency than ever.

"It was surprising,'' Hunter said. "And I feel like it sent a message out to everybody – you better get your stuff right. I don't think anyone in the locker room was expecting it.

"It is still going to be hard (to make the team) because we have a lot of talented receivers in the group. We are fighting for spots, and you have to keep up and progress at the same time."

Hunter, a former University of Tennessee star, is fighting for roster survival while coming off an ankle injury in 2015, and three up-and-down years. Hunter said he has to step it up, and he doesn't think he's alone.

"I feel like everybody is on the chopping block,'' Hunter said. "We have a new GM and he didn't draft too many people in here. Anybody could go at this point and we are all fighting for a spot."

The Titans believe they upgraded talent and depth on the offensive line with the acquisition of Kelly.

Kelly has played in 30 games, with 15 starts, after being selected by the Eagles in the fifth round 2012 NFL Draft. Kelly has started nine games at right tackle and three games at right guard and three games at left guard during his career.

"I think it was just value based,'' Robinson said. "Dennis (Kelly) was a guy that we thought would help our football team, that would make us a more competitive position group up there.  You know, he's played three positions, started a lot -- started 15 games in the NFL at [guard and left and right tackle] so we're looking forward to working with him."

At the receiver position, without Green-Beckham the Titans still have numbers. Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe worked with the starters in Saturday night's preseason opener against the Chargers and have been with the first group throughout training camp.

Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas, Andre Johnson, Justin Hunter, Tre McBride and Andrew Turzilli are also in the mix, along with others.

"I feel good about them,'' Mularkey said of the team's receivers. "We've got a good group. You're talking about a Hall of Famer with Andre Johnson. Rishard (Matthews) has come in here and made plays. We need to get Kendall (Wright) back in the mix. We've missed him being able to play that slot. I feel good about where we are with them right now. Jon (Robinson) and I both felt like this was best for our team based on the situation we have with our offensive line, as well."

Robinson said he's happy about the acquisition of Kelly.  And he wished Green-Beckham well.

"It made sense for both teams,,''  Robinson said. "I mean Dennis (Kelly) has to come in here and learn our offense, and Dorial (Green-Beckham) has to go out there and learn their offense.  So to be fair to both players, and give those guys time to get into a system to learn what they're going to do, instead of throwing them kind of into the fire week one.

"It wasn't a statement (to the other receivers). It was just doing what we thought was best for the team.  You know, the NFL's a business and again, we've said it since January -- we're trying to put the most competitive 90-man team on the football field, and I think we did that today."

Titans Online looks at the career of former Eagles OL Dennis Kelly, who was acquired in a trade for WR Dorial Green-Beckham. (AP Photos)

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