NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)Nicholas Petit-Frere is just happy to be back at practice with his six-game suspension for gambling reduced by two games.
Peter Skoronski has been busy downing shakes and smoothies to add weight in recovering from an appendectomy.
Both offensive linemen practiced Wednesday for the first time in weeks. Skoronski, Tennessee’s starting left guard, had surgery Sept. 16. Petit-Frere, who rejoined the Titans on Sept. 25, didn’t expect to practice again until the last week of October.
”I’ve been working my tail off as much as I can, conditioning, being in my pads, trying to find a way to get as close to being acclimated with the team as I can be,” said Petit-Frere, who started every game as a rookie at right tackle last season.
The Titans (2-2) have a roster exemption for Petit-Frere since his suspension began at the NFL’s final roster cut deadline Aug. 29.
Coach Mike Vrabel and his staff now have options ahead of their first AFC South game Sunday in Indianapolis (2-2). The Colts, tied for fifth with 14 sacks, lead the NFL with five strip-sacks. They also rank second with eight forced fumbles.
First, is Skoronski ready physically to reclaim his starting job at left guard? Secondly, is Petit-Frere ready after such a long break to help an offense tied for 29th in having allowed 16 sacks?
“We’ll see where they both are, but Nic’s been able to kind of work through, even though he hasn’t been here,” Vrabel said before practice. “Peter had a little bit of a break.”
The 11th pick overall out of Northwestern in April, Skoronski needed surgery Sept. 16 when his appendix burst luckily while at a hospital. Recovery affected his appetite and his weight with the rookie having to get cleared to lift weights and work out.
Skoronski says he remains on a day-to-day approach to his recovery. Watching the Titans beat Cincinnati 27-3 last week has him eager to return.
“I think I’m getting back up there, so I’m progressing really well,” Skoronski said. “I don’t think I need to be exactly where I was on the dot weight-wise to where I was, but as long as I keep improving and get to a point where I feel comfortable, strength-wise.”
Petit-Frere’s situation is very different because the NFL announced his suspension in June.
The Titans signed veteran Chris Hubbard, who has stepped in and started the first four games at right tackle. He got plenty of work alongside Daniel Brunskill, signed as a free agent to start at right guard.
Left tackle Andre Dillard, another top free agent signee this offseason, has allowed six sacks. Three went to Myles Garrett in Cleveland on Sept. 24, prompting Garrett to give Dillard some tips after the game.
Petit-Frere started every game in 2021 at left tackle for Ohio State. The 6-foot-5, 316-pound lineman is just curious to see how he reacts after trying to mimic football work during three weeks spent training in Tampa, Fla.
“Reacclimating as fast as I can and just be a part of the team however my role sees fit,” Petit-Frere said.
NOTES: WR Treylon Burks (left knee) did not practice Wednesday after missing last week’s game. DL Teair Tart (toe) and LB Luke Gifford also did not practice. DB Elijah Molden (hamstring) was limited after sitting out last week. WR Kyle Philips (knee) practiced fully after being designated to return from injured reserve.
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