NASHVILLE – With his rookie season winding down, Titans rookie receiver Colton Dowell was already thinking about what his offseason might bring.
Heading into Year 2, Dowell had plans to improve his route running. He talked about studying the game, and learning coverages, zone and man. Mentally and physically, he wanted to take a big step.
Then, in the team's Week 17 game in Houston, Dowell suffered an offseason-altering injury when he went down with a knee injury. Tests revealed it was a torn ACL.
"I kind of knew when it happened how bad it was, because I felt my knee shift," Dowell said. "So, I was already prepared for the outcome."
Dowell still plans to work on his game this offseason, but he'll also have to spend a lot of time working on his health.
Dowell, however, doesn't plan to spend any time moping.
"I have a good support system around me," said Dowell, a native of Lebanon, Tennessee. "The faith that I have, that my parents instilled in me, that I have learned throughout my life, it is going to carry me through this.
"It is another step, another part of God's plan for my life."
A seventh-round pick of the Titans in the 2023 NFL Draft out of Tennessee-Martin, Dowell played in 10 games, with one start, before being placed on Injured Reserve prior to the final game of the season.
Dowell was a big contributor on special teams, but he also played snaps on offense.
The day after the season officially ended, Dowell was in the locker room on crutches, in a giant brace, as he counted the days until surgery.
"As weird as it sounds, I am excited," Dowell said. "I have always, even from college being a kid, I've always wanted to make myself better and this is just an extreme version of that. I am excited to get to work, and I'm excited to get back."
Dowell said he talked to other teammates who have undergone a similar surgery, and rehab.
During the course of his rookie season, Dowell said he also picked the brains of the veterans around him, from DeAndre Hopkins to Chris Moore to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.
While he'll spend a good chunk of his offseason recovering, and rehabbing, he still plans to take the necessary steps to get better.
Dowell remains optimistic bigger things are ahead.
"I want to flip that term, "the NFL stands for Not for Long" upside down," Dowell said. "I want to be here a long time. And I am hungry to carve out a role. I want to stick around.
"But I know it's going to take a lot of hard work."