Tennessee Titans kicker Joe Nedney isn’t doing any kicking right now, but he could if he needed to.
That’s good news for Nedney and the Titans, as Nedney’s agent Bob Lamonte says the kicker has fully recovered from the knee injury suffered while making a tackle in the AFC Championship Game loss to the Oakland Raiders in January.
“From what the doctors and trainers tell me, Joe is a hundred percent right now,” Lamonte said. “He could kick right now if he needed to. The only reason he’s not is because he usually doesn’t kick at this time of year.”
X-rays and MRIs on Nedney’s right plant knee indicated only that the knee was hyperextended with no tears in any ligaments.
“We were really lucky, I guess, that it was only hyperextended,” Lamonte said.
With Steve McNair not available until Thursday’s workout and Neil O’Donnell’s status still uncertain, Billy Volek was the only quarterback at Tuesday’s first off-season workout.
Volek is hopeful of stepping up to a No. 2 role this season if O’Donnell, a February cap cut, is not re-signed.
Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger appears cautiously optimistic about Volek, whose regular-season game experience has been extremely limited.
“There comes a time that every No. 3 needs to become a No. 2,” Heimerdinger said.
Volek’s lack of experience appears to be the major question about his ability to fulfill the role, should the opportunity arise.
“He’s made progress in practice and in all the preseason games. But it’s different in the preseason and the regular season. You never know until you throw a guy out there,” Heimerdinger added.
Recent successes by third-stringers like Marc Bulger in St. Louis and A.J. Feeley in Philadelphia offer hope that an inexperienced player like Volek could answer the bell if needed.
Heimerdinger is still hopeful that O’Donnell, a 13-year veteran, can be brought back for the 2003 season once the Titans find some cap space, because he likes the combination starter Steve McNair, O’Donnell and Volek have formed the past three seasons.
“I’m hoping Neil comes back,” Heimerdringer said. “Obviously, we don’t have the money to do anything right now, but I’m hoping down the road we can get something done with Neil. I know what he can do, and I’ve got a lot of faith in his ability. Personally, I’m hoping he comes back.
“That’s not to say that Billy can’t do it, but it’s just that we’ve had a real nice situation the last three years.”
Members of the coaching staff appeared to be pleased after Tuesday’s first day of off-season workouts. No injuries were suffered in drills, and the coaches appeared to sense an air of commitment from the players.
“I think things went really well,” linebackers coach Gunther Cunningham said. “It was good to see so many guys out there. It was good to see guys like Samari Rolle out there the first day.”
Players are not required to attend off-season workouts, but are expected to appear unless prior obligations prevent them from being on hand.
Cunningham said it seemed to him that the players were committed to building on their 2002 success.
“You can definitely feel that,” he said. “There was a real positive and professional attitude brought out in the workout.”
The next workout sessions is scheduled for Thursday morning.
According to the Green Bay Packers Web site, the Pack’s Aug. 28 preseason finale with the Titans at Lambeau Field has been set for a 7 p.m. CDT kickoff.