When Givens chose Tennessee over Houston, among others, Titans fans everywhere rejoiced. And for good reason; Givens a four-year veteran at the time of the deal was a proven commodity in the NFL and was quickly becoming one of the league’s best wide receivers. Furthermore his signing was viewed by many in the organization as a shot in the arm at a position sorely needing one by a Titans team in the throes of rebuilding.
Rated as the league’s no.3 WR by Scout.com at the time of his signing, Givens left New England as the franchise’s all-time leader in postseason receptions (5).
However, as things often do in the world of professional football, David Givens’ future with the Titans is now uncertain thanks to a devastating rash of injuries suffered during the first half of last season.
“I’ve talked to him and his spirits are high,” his agent Brad Blank said earlier this week. “He’s working his butt off to get back. He’s 26 years old and he’s just signed a huge contract,” Blank continued. “He wants to prove he’s worth it and doesn’t want to be labeled a bust.”
According to Blank, Givens has been “almost like a turtle in a shell,” since the injury and is not talking to the media. He was unavailable for comment for this article.
Despite Givens relative anonymity on the situation, Blank said he’s spoken with several PEOPLE in the Titans organization, including head coach Jeff Fisher and now defunct former G.M. Floyd Reese about Givens status for 2007 and they all believe Givens will be ready-to-go when training camp begins in late July.
Blank, obviously understanding the severity of the injury and the subsequent rehab process refused to give a timetable on his clients return.
“I think he’s probably waiting on it to heal before he comes out and speaks out about it. [Right now] he’s just working real hard, trying to get back,” Blank said.
In order to make room under the league’s strict salary cap restrictions, efforts beginning in earnest following the 2003 and 2004 seasons saw a number of veterans traded or snapped up by other teams after becoming free agents.
The fallout, predictably, at the WR position came hard and fast.
When Givens arrived in town last year, the team itself and the WR position specifically barely resembled the team Givens remembered facing a number of times over the past four seasons with New England during epic AFC playoff battles.
In fact, Drew Bennett, the teams’ leading receiver the last three seasons was the lone WR still lurking around the team’s spacious Baptist Sports Park training facility by the time Givens arrived to Nashville last March. Properly credentialed in New England , Givens was expected to compete with Bennett as the team’s “go-to” WR in 2006.
Four games into the season, it looked as if the Titans pricey yet shrewd signing of Givens would pay enormous dividends. He was the team’s no.2 receiver, trailing only Bennett, with eight catches for 104 yards.
Then, Givens and the Titans world, at least as far as the 2006 season was concerned changed as we knew it.
Givens tore ligaments in his thumb in week four against Dallas , causing him to miss a string of games over the first two months of the season. After returning against Baltimore in week 10, he was carted off the field and lost for the season after planting his left leg and breaking down to block when he tore his ACL, his meniscus and broke a bone in his knee.
The rehab process has been arduous one for Givens who was unable to walk for more than two months after the injury.
With Bennett now gone (also a free agent, salary cap casualty) and the Titans lack of a big-time, experienced receiver, the team’s search for a big-time WR will likely spill over into this year’s draft with Givens’ uncertain future at the position. For now, the WR with the most experience heading into the 2007 opener vs. Jacksonville is Justin Gage a four-year veteran acquired from Chicago in the off season.