Injury earns Justin Hunter no sympathy from his position coach

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The Titans have been practicing without wide receiver Justin Hunter for the last few days because of a hamstring injury suffered late in May.

Since it is June, coach Mike Munchak and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains are each taking the position that the second-round pick should focus on mental reps and the playbook while making sure he’s 100 percent physically before getting back on the field. Hunter’s position coach has a pretty different take on things, however. Shawn Jefferson thinks it’s just a matter of Hunter being a little tougher.

“Justin needs to get his [butt] going,” Jefferson said, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “Sometimes we have to fight through things. That’s how I was taught with Bill Parcells. If it ain’t broke, then I’m not hurt. This is a very crucial time. This is where we see the growth in the kid, where he gets used to going through some adversity. I know injuries are a part of the game, but the OTAs is where you really see the jump and he corrects mistakes. It’s definitely a setback. I just want him to get out here so we can continue the growth process.”

Hunter may not be broke, but there are few better ways to get broken than to get back on the field before you’re physically ready after a relatively minor injury suffered more than three months ahead of the first game of the season. It would obviously be better for Hunter and the Titans if he were on the field right now, but it’s far more important that he be on the field for training camp and the regular season. Even Parcells might be willing to concede that growth in OTAs doesn’t matter at all if the player can’t be on the field in September and October.

19 responses to “Injury earns Justin Hunter no sympathy from his position coach

  1. I’m with the coach. He was drafted high, he needs to grow and it doesn’t happen in the hot/cold tubs. Let’s be honest, his job depends on the receiving corps performing and we all know the development occurs on the field, in OTAs, in Training Camp. Should add that to your article to be fair to the coach. Plus, we know a lot of these kids come out as prima donnas as if the NFL owes them something – so he needs to ensure if he can go – he goes.

  2. Couldn’t agree more with your take. Particularly with a hamstring injury, rushing back into action before healed will make it worse and could turn his minor injury into something that persists through the season. To boot, this kids a receiver, so more than any position other than some special teams roles, he needs to be able to sprint. Maybe the coach needs to sit down with this kid and an athletic trainer.

  3. Hamstring injuries are the worst. They love to nag at you and keep you below 100% for the whole season if not fully healed. As a titans fan i hope munchack keeps him sidelined until he’s 100%. Even 95% should keep him taking it easy. I dont want a season of him on and off the field.

  4. Obviously the coach knows the kid needs to get healthy. I think he’s just trying to instill a mentality in the position group as he’s new. No harm in that.

  5. Old school coach and a new school problem.

    You know the Tuna wasn’t trying to hear about someone not playing cause they tweaked their hamstring.

  6. This coach is a dope. You have to let hamstring injuries heal, otherwise it just gets worse and lingers on well past the time the injury occured.

  7. Parcells was a gr8 coach, but not everything he espoused is necessarily true. This situation is one, playing with a bruised hamstring will def make it worse not better.

  8. Stupid move from the coach. Everyone by now should be painfully aware of how a “minor” hamstring strain can linger for months and destroy a players season if not treated properly and allowed to fully heal.

    With Andre Johnson, Miles Austin, Arian Foster, etc you’d figure coaches by now would know a hamstring injury is way different then any other muscle strain.

    I personally ran track in high school and suffered a hamstring strain, and it zaps you of all your explosiveness and top line speed. And it doesn’t heal quickly. If you push it too soon you re-injure it and you’re back to square 0.

  9. Next thing you know, he’ll be saying Parcells taught him water breaks are for sissies, too.

    Can sympathize with the new WR coach itching to have all his top projected guys out there, especially the highly-touted rookie with the most to learn. But still.

  10. Growin up playing all kinds of sports including track and cross-country, this coach sounds like an idiot to me. I pulled my hamstring mid run in HS and tryed to play through it and only made it worse. Now it 10yrs later and I’m constantly tweaking and pulling my hamstring with simple subtle movements. Hamstring inhurys arnt like “broke” bones. I regret every single day trying to play through hammy.injuries, its the most annoying injury ever!! Ask miles Austin if his hammy will ever be 100%. Let the kid heal. Build up stamina and flexibility and then let him lose.

  11. So wait a second… Hunter can’t practice because he is hurt? Now coach wants him to practice hurt?

    Lay off him a bit. Hamstring injuries are nothing to mess with. And since when did being injured make someone a prima donna?

  12. If Goodell really wanted to change the culture this is what he would be actively countering instead of going after mythical transgressions that can’t be proven.

  13. As far as Parcells was concerned if you didn’t need it amputated it was just a scratch and you better get your rear end back on the field.

    Not the smartest approach but a not uncommon old school way of looking at injuries. He was far from the only coach to have that attitude.

    Don’t think it fits in today’s NFL though.

  14. Stupid comments. Hammie injuries don’t get better without rest. Everyone knows this. I understand if he’s trying to instill some toughness but this isn’t the way to do it. Calling out your rookie WR who has a legitimate injury & basically calling him a p*ssy isn’t helping.

  15. All I can really say is maybe coach Jefferson got some information that we may not know about, I just hope the kid is healthy and produces during the season. I’m really looking forward to this year and hope the team can stay healthy as well.

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