By Meghan Rose, Titans Online
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Baptist Sports Park was abuzz early Friday morning, as Titans veterans checked in for the start of training camp at the team's facility. While quarterbacks, rookies and first-year players reported on Tuesday, the bulk of the current roster arrived Friday, eager for camp to begin.
"To be back and to be around the guys, it feels like you're back home," said linebacker Gerald McRath. "When you come in today, it's like the first day of school."
Defensive end Kamerion Wimbley, who signed with the Titans this offseason, was the first player to check in, arriving promptly at 7 a.m. when check-in procedures began.
Upon arrival, players were handed a packet containing their hotel room key, ID badge, parking pass and check-in form. By 11 a.m., players had to check in with the hotel, training room, weight room, position coach and general manager's office.
Titans Vice President of Business and Operations Stuart Spears said that by 9 a.m., more than half of the players had already reported for camp.
"You're counting down the days, and it's here, finally," wide receiver Marc Mariani said. "I think the optimism around here is a good thing, and we're ready to win some football games."
Friday afternoon's schedule includes a series of meetings for the players in addition to a conditioning test conducted by assistant head coach/strength & conditioning Steve Watterson.
"He always has something up his sleeve — you never know with that guy," safety Jordan Babineaux joked of his expectations for Watterson's test.
The first practice is Saturday, and the first practice open to fans is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
With a successful session of voluntary organized team activity practices in the books, many players turned their attention to conditioning during their time off, looking to get in the best shape possible for the start of camp.
"I feel like I'm a step ahead of last year," second-year linebacker Akeem Ayers said. "I've been working out and trying to stay in shape. I don't want to let everything that I did from the beginning of the year through OTAs go to waste."
Cornerback Jason McCourty added, "You can't really rest when you've got camp right around the corner."
And with the Titans' first preseason game just two weeks away, Friday marked the start of the Titans' campaign for a successful 2012 season.
"Being here in training camp is the start of it," McRath said. "You have to compete and get yourself mentally and physically prepared for the season."