After starting his Titans tenure off on the wrong foot, Vic Beasley is ready to move forward and get back on the field.
A lingering knee ailment led to back-to-back inactive designations for the formidable pass rusher to begin the year. But, after being cleared to play following a full week of practice, Beasley told reporters Friday that he’s excited to make his debut.
“Physically, I am at the point where I feel like I can play,” Beasley said in his first video conference call since joining the team. “So going forward, that decision is up to the training staff and whether they feel like I am able to go out there and perform. You can’t just go out there and play, you have to go out there and be effective, and make a difference.
“Mentally, I am happy. I am good on the scheme of the defense. I think I am in a good place right now on both ends.”
There was a time during the offseason where there were questions abound regarding the 28-year-old’s mindset. Back in early August, Beasley was fined $500,000 for mysteriously missing 10 days of training camp. Neither Beasley nor the team have provided an explanation on the cause of his unexcused absence in the weeks since.
Potentially having Beasley back in the fold full-time is great news for Tennessee. A solid five-year run with the Falcons, including a Pro Bowl campaign in 2016, positioned the former eighth overall pick as one of the game’s best young defensive talents. Although he only signed a one-year deal, Beasley was — and still is — expected to be a critical piece to the Titans’ D. His desire to build on his past success has not wavered.
“I love the game – I love playing the game,” Beasley said. “I know there’s been a lot of question marks about whether or not I love playing. But I wouldn’t waste nobody’s time if I didn’t love playing ball. If I didn’t love playing ball, I would tell the coaches: ‘Go look for somebody else that may be a better fit for the organization.’
“I am not going to give nobody a half-hearted effort. I want to give them the best of what I’ve got, and that is by making sure I am mentally prepared, and physically prepared.”
Should Beasley suit up in Week 3, coach Mike Vrabel will get his first glimpse at what could be a standout linebacker corps in Beasley, Harold Landry, Rashaan Evans — the team’s second-leading tackler in 2019 — and Jadeveon Clowney, who is still getting acclimated after signing on Sept. 8. Having the chance to join a promising defense that features seven former first rounders is one Beasley is eagerly anticipating.
“There’s a number of guys on this team that are so talented, and I think having me out there I am add more versatility, and more volume to the defense,” he said. “I am excited – I feel like this is an opportunity to put myself in that category of being one of the elite pass rushers. This is a new start for me, and I know I am excited about it. I know the coaches are excited about it. There’s only one way to find out what I can do, and that’s by playing.”
Sunday’s road showdown against the Vikings could finally give him that long-awaited opportunity.
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