As the Titans add receivers, the speculation grows that soon-to-be-30-year-old Nate Washington isn’t long for a job.
And yet he still has one.
To Washington’s credit, he doesn’t care. Which could be one of the reasons why he has been able to keep going.
“I am not worried about it, and never was worried about it, to tell you the truth,” Washington recently said, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “At the end of the day, I am here, and I am here to do a job. I have no problem with who they brought in or didn’t bring in. It doesn’t matter to me.’’
Still, Washington knows that, as he ages, he needs to find other ways to force the team to keep him around.
“If all these other guys are going to get younger, faster and bigger, then I have to get older, wiser, bigger and stronger,” Washington said. “It is about me giving my all. If I do that, I know I can look myself in the mirror. At this point, I have nothing to prove. I just need to make sure the guys believe in me and know I am going to work and do everything I can to help us win.”
His effort this year includes gaining five pounds of muscle. He now feels stronger and faster than ever, and he understands the game in ways young players don’t.
Washington has been a solid, but not spectacular, performer during his eight-year career. He has one 1,000-yard season, in 2011. Last year, he caught 46 passes for 746 yards and four touchdowns.
That was still good enough to lead the team in receiving yards.
This year, he’s dealing with a depth chart that includes two first-round picks (Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright) and a second-rounder (Justin Hunter). He’s also dealing with guys like Britt calling him old.
While Washington seems to be taking the high road, we suggest that he consider taking a page out of the Cris Carter playbook, who had this to say when a young Bears defender called Carter “old man” in 1998: You should get on your knees and pray that you can play this game as long as me.
While there aren’t many things of which I’m sure, I’m sure Britt won’t play pro football as long as Washington.