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Titans' Locker upbeat about his recovery

The SportsXchange

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker, who is out of a walking boot, said Thursday that his surgically repaired foot "feels awesome."

"Surgery went really well. Foot feels awesome and rehab is up and rolling," Locker told The Tennessean. "Doctors were happy with how things looked so (I'm) just continuing to follow that trend."

Locker suffered the injury on Nov. 10 during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, had surgery shortly thereafter and the foot was placed in a cast. He discarded his crutches in January in favor of the walking boot, which he was still wearing earlier this month.

"It is hard to sit and watch. I haven't played in a long time now and (I'm) eager for the opportunity to get back out there again," Locker told the newspaper. "I am going to go out and do what I have done my whole career, and that's to try and prepare myself the best I can and give our team the best chance to have success as possible, and that is my goal."

The No. 8 overall pick in 2011 threw for 1,256 yards and eight touchdowns and four interceptions last season. Before the foot injury, he missed two games with a hip ailment.

Locker has missed 14 of a possible 32 starts over the past two seasons because of injuries. In addition to the seven games he missed last season, he missed five in 2012 because of a shoulder injury that also required offseason surgery.

According to the newspaper, the Titans' front office has made it clear Locker is the starter going into the final year of his rookie contract. The team, for now, has no plans to exercise the costly fifth-year option of around $13 million.

Earlier this month, the Titans released veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick -- who then signed with the Houston Texans -- and signed former San Diego Chargers backup Charlie Whitehurst. Tyler Wilson, a fourth-round pick of the Raiders last year, is also under contract.

"He (Locker) knows what's at stake. He's got to perform," Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said at the NFL owners meetings this week. "One thing I like about him is I've seen improvement in his play over the last few years. He hasn't played enough, that's the hard thing. You'd like to have a little bit more to evaluate.

"One of the things that I think is important when you're evaluating is, where was he three years ago and where was he this past season? And his play has improved.

"What I saw from him last year in the third game of the season when (the Chargers) played in Tennessee, I was impressed by that. Maybe that's clouded my judgment since I'm with the team, but I was impressed."
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