- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Unless you're Reggie Wayne, the last year has not been a particularly good time to be a big-name receiver in the AFC South.
Marvin Harrison is trying to come back from knee issues in Indianapolis. Jerry Porter will miss camp in Jacksonville after hamstring surgery. Andre Johnson missed seven games for Houston last year with a knee injury, and the Texans lost five of them.
Roydell Williams certainly doesn't rank in their class, but he did tie for the Titans' team lead in receptions (55) in 2007, then broke an ankle running a route in preparation for the playoff game in San Diego. He'll be dealing with pain all year and Justin McCareins looked locked in to what was his starting spot.
Some lesser known receivers in the division also ended up on IR: Houston's Jerome Mathis (now in Washington), Indy's Roy Hall and Aaron Moorehead (unsigned), Jacksonville's Mike Walker and John Broussard, and Tennessee's Brandon Jones.
But the worst story of all belongs to David Givens, whose injury dates back to 2006.
The Titans' prized free agent from New England played in only five games that season. A devastating knee injury put him out of the picture for the rest of that year and all of 2007 and the team cut him in February to avoid a $500,000 roster bonus.
After tearing his ACL and meniscus and breaking a bone in his left knee that required bone plugs, he's had at least three surgeries and continues to rehabilitate at Dr. James Andrews' facility in Alabama.
Givens collected $12 million from the Titans. You can't blame the team for grabbing one of the best receivers available in 2006 free agency. You can't fault Givens for suffering a freak injury. It's one of those unfortunate stories where everything unravels for a guy. I only got to know him a little in the Titans' locker room, but it was clear he was a proud, serious and stand-up guy.
Brad Blank, Givens' agent, said the receiver is determined to play again.
"He's very resolute" Blank said. "I don't know what the timetable is, but he's going to try to make a comeback. I don't know what's realistic time-wise. I will be speaking with some doctors at the end of the summer. But he's been to the lowest point and he's on his way back from that."
It's hard not to root for Givens, as slim as his chances at re-emerging may seem.
Meanwhile, receivers around the AFC South certainly have to be hoping the injury trend is coming to an end.