Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Longtime Oilers and Titans scout C.O. Brocato is recovering in Texas from serious stomach problems that cropped up after he had three vertebra fused on May 27. But he said he expects to be in Nashville to watch training camp on schedule in the first week of August.
"I guess I pick up every bug that comes around in the hospital," he joked, referring back to a staph infection he dealt with in 2007 after surgery on his left hip. "I got the bug and it went in my stomach and it just ate me up."
The problems landed him back in the hospital where doctors discovered the infection and put him on a course of medicine including two new antibiotics.
"It's beginning to clear up a little bit now, so I am doing OK," he said. "I'm getting to where I walk around the house and everything now. It's not bad."
Brocato, 78, is hugely popular among other scouts and with college programs around the country, particularly in Big 12 country. At significant workouts that draw crowds, his colleagues typically defer to his stopwatch time when players run the 40.
This season will be his 34th with the franchise. Under Mike Reinfeldt, who took over as general manager in 2007, Brocato is national supervisor of college scouting and cross checks all prospects west of the Mississippi.
He's eating anything he wants, though keeping it light, and he was instructed to scrap his walker and use a cane.
Brocato said it's the right time of year for a scout to be sidelined and looks forward to getting into his usual routine as training camp and the college season approach.
In April of 2005 I asked Floyd Reese, then the Titans GM, what he instantly knew about a player if Brocato liked him.
"When C.O. likes a guy, I know a couple of things," said Reese, who now works at ESPN. "I know he's going to be tough. I know he is going to play his (butt) off. Now is he necessarily going to be blessed? Maybe not. Is he going to come out and run a 4.4 and be a big pretty gazelle? Maybe not.
"But I know those two things are for sure."