Jake Locker is out for the season and now he is facing questions regarding his future with both his health and his NFL status. The quarterback has officially earned the label of being injury prone and 2013 is no different as a Lisfranc injury in his right foot has knocked him out of the lineup once again. Now with reports circulating about his uncertain future in Tennessee, Locker is speaking out.
Locker cannot escape the talk. In the past two years, he has started 18 of a possible 32 games. He has suffered injuries to his foot, his shoulders and his hips during that time frame, keeping out more than half of his time in the NFL. Locker is not accepting the label that the is fragile and not a durable player, something that could hurt his future going forward.
"It does bother me," Locker said, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. "I feel like I have always done everything in the offseason, and put in the preparation to be as healthy and as strong as possible to prevent things from happening. And I've just had some freak deals that have unfortunately been major injuries for me. But I feel very confident, and I know I have done everything I could to give myself the best opportunity to go through a season being healthy. I don't look back and regret what I have done."
Locker will have surgery on his foot this week and could be out the next five to six months. A Lisfranc injury is nothing easy to come back from, just ask Santonio Holmes who noted that he basically had to learn how to walk again. Locker said he has the goal of returning before training camp and getting in some offseason work, the question will be if he returns as the starter again or not.
Titans head coach Mike Munchak confirmed that the team is now taking a closer look at Locker's future. For now, Ryan Fitzpatrick will take over the offense and the team will evaluate things when the year is up. Locker has one more year left on his contract, set to make over $2 million in 2014. The team has the option to extend things one more year, but there will be plenty of decisions to me made in 2014 as the new CBA would allow Locker to make $13 million based on a transition tag.
"He's the guy we thought would be here for a long time, and that still may work out," Munchak said. "It's just that right now, it's disappointing, last year and this year, that he wasn't able to finish this season and really find out what team we have and what kind of team we could become on offense. I think that's stuff we'll talk about when the season is over and you have to make decisions on the next season, . . . That's a nice February discussion. He is a fighter, and if anyone can come back from another injury, it is going to be him. We are just concentrating on these next seven weeks."
With a quarterback-heavy draft approaching this year, the Titans could easily take a gamble on a rookie. If Locker has a shot at returning as a starter, he better get healthy quick.