Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan reports for Titans camp
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Taylor Lewan answered the biggest question for the Tennessee Titans heading into training camp by showing up for work along with the rest of his teammates.
How long it takes to get a new contract for the two-time Pro Bowl left tackle remains to be seen.
General manager Jon Robinson said they’re making good progress, even if he isn’t ready to say when that might be wrapped up.
“It’s good to have him back,” Robinson said Wednesday after the Titans reported for camp. “I know that our coaches are excited to work with him and had really good discussions over the last 24 hours with his representation and nothing’s finalized. But I would say we’re certainly headed in the right direction.”
Robinson said contract talks had been going on the past couple days and ramped up Tuesday night.
“I’d say we’ve made really good progress and that’s about all I can really comment on that for now,” Robinson said.
With the Titans firing Mike Mularkey in January after the franchise’s first playoff victory in 14 years, Lewan took part in the team’s voluntary offseason program with new coach Mike Vrabel . Then Lewan skipped the mandatory minicamp in June over a lack of progress in contract talks.
The left tackle is due $9.34 million this season after Tennessee picked up the fifth-year option for the 11th selection overall out of Michigan in the 2014 draft. He has started 53 of 58 games, including every game the past two seasons, protecting quarterback Marcus Mariota’s back. Lewan, who turned 27 last weekend, is younger than Nate Solder who became the league’s highest-paid offensive lineman in March with a four-year, $62 million deal from the New York Giants.
Lewan and the rest of the Titans showed up on Wednesday for the start of training camp, joining quarterbacks, rookies and injured players who started last weekend.
The left tackle was not among the handful of players made available to reporters Wednesday. Veteran linebacker Brian Orakpo, going into the final season of his contract, was glad Lewan reported since that means both sides must be talking again.
“I know what he brings to the table, so hopefully I mean stuff can get done and we can play ball and move forward,” Orakpo said. “Nobody really wants to be worried about contract situations when we’re trying to be you know coming together as a team. And they understand that, Taylor understands this so hopefully get it done sooner than later.”
The Titans already are without right tackle Jack Conklin, who was placed on the physically unable to perform list last weekend. Conklin tore his left ACL in the Titans’ divisional playoff loss to New England , and Vrabel had no timetable for Conklin’s return.
Vrabel said Lewan is in great shape along with the rest of the offensive line. Center Ben Jones said it was good to have everybody in and ready to work, a credit to Lewan’s work ethic.
“We’re a band of brothers,” Jones said. “We want us all out there at all times and that’s all we do is go out there and grind every day. Taylor’s the lead guy he’s a guy we can put our hat on. You know he’s going to work hard every day.”
Vrabel said all the Titans passed the running test, but veteran wide receiver Rishard Matthews still is being evaluated. Matthews was sidelined during the offseason program with an unspecified injury.
“When he’s ready, he’ll be out there,” Vrabel said.
NOTES: Robinson said he met Tuesday with Kevin Dodd before the Titans released the outside linebacker. Dodd was the 33rd selection overall out of Clemson in 2016 and the second player Robinson drafted in his first year as general manager. “I take full responsibility for that one. I’ve got to do a better job scouting moving forward,” Robinson said. The move leaves the Titans at 89 players, and Robinson said they are looking to fill that spot.
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