The Tennessee Titans got paid a visit by Houston Oilers legend Earl Campbell during practice on Thursday.
Houston Oilers legend Earl Campbell made a stop at Tennessee Titans practice on Thursday and spoke about quarterback Marcus Mariota, running back Derrick Henry, and his expectations for the team in 2019.
When looking at the pictures of Titans players meeting Campbell, you could tell by the looks on their faces that they truly respected being in the presence of greatness.
Campbell is not only the greatest running back in Oilers/Titans franchise history, he is also one of the best in NFL history.
If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about running backs, it’s the 64-year-old Hall of Famer. That’s why Henry must have been giddy when Campbell had these words of praise for the Alabama product, per Jim Wyatt of Titans Online.
"“I’ve been watching Derrick Henry since he was at Alabama,” Campbell said. “I like what he does. He’s a big-time running back. That dude can play some football, I’ve seen him do it.”"
Campbell wasn’t going to make a visit to Titans practice without addressing the quarterback. He had these words of encouragement for Tennessee’s embattled signal-caller.
"“Where is that guy Mariota? C’mon over here,” Campbell said as he looked around, before Mariota walked his way. “No matter what nobody says: I think you are the leader of this football team.”“Pro football, it takes a lot, and from what I have seen in him, he is getting it,” Campbell said of Mariota. “It sometimes takes guys a while, but he has come a long way and I can tell he is getting it. I like Mariota. I think he’s a franchise quarterback, I really do.”"
Perhaps the best quote of the day came from Campbell when talking about where he thinks this Titans team is heading. The legendary back believes big things could be in store for head coach Mike Vrabel’s squad.
"“I think have some quality players on this football team, and I really do think they’re on the verge of getting over the hump,” Campbell said of the Titans. “They are not that far away — I think the Tennessee Titans are real close to making that next step.”"
That hump would be the three straight 9-7 seasons that have resulted in just one playoff appearance. This is the best team the Titans have had in quite some time, so anything less than a trip to the playoffs would be a major disappointment.