Tennessee Titans change receiver’s name to JAG for practice
by TERESA M. WALKER AP Sports Writer
Aug 12, 2014 | 673 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tennessee Titans wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, right, talks with wide receiver Justin Hunter during training camp, in Nashville.
Tennessee Titans wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, right, talks with wide receiver Justin Hunter during training camp, in Nashville.

NASHVILLE (AP) — Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt and receivers coach Shawn Jefferson tried to send a message to receiver Justin Hunter on Monday.

Instead of his name, the receiver found “J A G” on the back of his practice jersey, for “Just Another Guy.”

“I forgot to convert a route, and they expect me not to do that,” Hunter said after practice. “So they got after me on that one. The next day I remembered us talking about it. I didn’t think it was serious, and they came in here and got it.”

Hunter credits Jefferson with having the name on the receiver’s jersey changed. The Titans have talked repeatedly this offseason having high expectations for Hunter, the 34th pick in the 2013 draft. Hunter played only two seasons in college at the University of Tennessee, but he was timed running a 4.40-second 40-yard dash and has a 78-inch arm span. Hunter averaged 19.7 yards on 18 catches for 354 yards as a rookie with four touchdowns.

Hunter says teammates have been giving him plenty of grief over the name with some people thinking the Titans had brought in a new receiver.

“It’s all good,” Hunter said. “As long as I keep performing in practice, it’ll come off.”

Titans Tidbits: Each of the Titans QBs had a pass intercepted Monday, and Whisenhunt said the defense played well responding to struggles in the preseason opener against Green Bay. ... Whisenhunt had no update on the status of LB Colin McCarthy, who hurt a shoulder in the win over Green Bay, or OL Chris Spencer. The lineman was on crutches when he walked into the locker room and quickly left, not touching his left ankle to the ground.

Hagan hopes to stick with

Titans after year off

(AP) — Derek Hagan sat around last season hoping for a call from an NFL team. His phone never rang.

This offseason, the receiver only heard from one team and not until mid-June. Now he is in training camp with the Tennessee Titans hoping to earn a roster spot that keeps him in the league for his eighth season.

“Obviously being out two years is really not a good look for me,” Hagan said. “I was already branching off doing other things. Now I’m here, and I’m glad I stayed in shape and stayed into the game. I’m happy and I’m thankful and I’m here.”

He was in training camp this time last year with Tampa Bay only to be released in late August. He returned home to Southern California where he worked out all fall, staying in shape just in case a team called. But he also started working as an analyst for a Fox Sports Radio show in case his career indeed was over.

“It was one of those things that was difficult just because I’d been playing for so long,” Hagan said. “I just started thinking about, ‘OK, what am I going to do if I don’t play next year?’”

Hagan, a third-round draft pick by Miami out of Arizona State in 2006, kept working out in case some team called needing a receiver in a hurry. He finally took a break in November but returned to his usual offseason workout in February.

By the time the Titans called Hagan, they only had a three-day minicamp left in their offseason program. Hagan came in, got an iPad loaded with the playbook and started learning the offense. That proved fairly easy for a veteran with 129 catches for 1,480 yards and six touchdowns with Miami, the Giants, Oakland and Buffalo.

“I had that whole month off to learn the playbook,” Hagan said. “I learned it, and now it’s pretty easy. Once they call a play, I know where I’m going and I don’t have to think about it too much.”

Hagan has looked good in training camp. The Titans have Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Nate Washington as their top three receivers with Hagan competing against Marc Mariani, Michael Preston and Brian Robiskie for either two or three spots depending on how many receivers the team keeps.

At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Hagan also brings some size with his experience.

Sitting out a season can be tougher on a receiver because of how much running is required. Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt says Hagan is in good shape and has worked hard in training camp.

“He’s really been impressive,” Whisenhunt said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect from that standpoint, but he’s learned very well and we’ve been able to move him in different spots and he’s made a lot of plays. So it’s an impressive camp so far for him.”

Hagan is just working as hard as he can.

“I’m very thankful to have another chance,” Hagan said.

Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker