'Missing part of yourself': Tennessee Titans' OLB Rashad Weaver reflects on journey back from injury

Emma Healy
Nashville Tennessean

When Tennessee Titans linebacker Rashad Weaver suffered a broken fibula that ended his rookie season in Week 3 last season, he became confined to his couch, only able to move by using a scooter.

After nearly nine months of recovery, Weaver returned to the field in May for the Titans' organized team activities (OTAs). The second-year player out of Pittsburgh had a rough start after not seeing the field for months at a time, but he's back to 100% now for training camp. 

"The first three days [of OTAs], I thought I was going to die because I was so out of shape," Weaver said after day 3 of Titans training camp Thursday. "I was not having a great time. Actually, I was like 'this is terrible.'

"But just to be back out there with the guys and doing my position work again was just great."

His physical challenges early this offseason were obvious to the coaching staff as well. For the first few days, Weaver often finished reps by standing with his hands on his head, trying to catch his breath. 

Now, he's back to full speed. 

"The conditioning is something that you can't replicate [while injured]," head coach Mike Vrabel said Friday. "He's worked through that. He came back in good shape, and he expects himself to play with great effort."

To play at the high level that Weaver demands from himself, Vrabel said, he has to be in top physical condition. He also has to have motivation, which Weaver said comes from his love for the game. 

While recovering from his injury, Weaver struggled to find that motivation without the ability to be around his team. 

"The hardest part is not being around something I love," Weaver said. "You feel like you're missing a part of yourself."

Weaver appeared in two games last season as a rookie and made two assisted tackles. The Titans drafted him in the fourth round (135th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft. 

He was charged with a misdemeanor simple assault last year. His trial date is set for Aug. 16.

Emma Healy is a sports reporting intern for The Tennessean. Contact her at ehealy@gannett.com or follow her on Twitter @_EmmaHealy_.