Darius Jennings described himself Sunday as a “bubble guy.”
That term describes Jennings’ hopes of cracking the Tennessee Titans’ 53-man roster. But it also has summed up his NFL career to date.
Through three seasons, Jennings has logged more time on practice squads with the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, New York Jets and now the Titans than anything else in his NFL career.
His career stat line amounts to four games in 2015 with the Browns, where he caught 14 passes for 117 yards as a rookie.
Since then, it has been all about working to get another opportunity. Jennings spent a few weeks on the Titans’ active roster in the middle of last season, but did not get into a single game, as he was a healthy scratch on Sundays.
But through four days of training camp, Jennings has been turning lot of heads with his play, showing good hands, some speed and his solid route-running.
“My entire career has kind of been on the bubble. I just want to make sure I come out here and put my best foot forward every day. I’m going to fight for a roster spot,” Jennings said.
His play Sunday was highlighted by a sliding catch in front of Kalan Reed on the sideline, and then capped by a diving grab against Adoree’ Jackson for a 50-yard gain.
He only got a chance to work as the third receiver with the first group because Rishard Matthews and Corey Davis were absent from the lineup. Jennings will take it, but he’s not at all satisfied yet.
It is all a part of the grind for Jennings, who – while this would be mathematically impossible for him to still be in the league – said he feels like, “I’ve probably been cut more times than I’ve been signed in my career.”
A few good days and several good plays have gotten him noticed in camp.
“He competes. He studies. He knows where to be. I think the quarterbacks like him,” Vrabel said. “He’s very decisive on his routes. They trust him. They trust him that he’s going to be where he’s supposed to be when the quarterback is looking at him.”
Jennings said he knows he has to keep producing in order to stick on the team, nearly three years after his last regular season catch. Others in the same mix as him – like veterans Nick Williams and Michael Campanaro, plus rookies Deontay Burnett and Jordan Veazy are working for back of the roster spots at receiver too.
“I’m going into year four, and I take pride in being a professional. I kind of bounced around a lot here last year. I’m trying to keep up my career and stacking days. Today is over with, so I’ll go in and make corrections and move forward,” he said.