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Titans WR Britt improves focus after warning from Fisher

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- When coach Jeff Fisher told Kenny Britt that he could be hurting the team, the Tennessee Titans wide receiver said it shook him to his core.

Now Britt said he's focused on work and that his personal life won't distract him anymore.

Britt dropped two passes and was flagged for a false start during the Titans' preseason finale, prompting Fisher to bench him. They talked briefly afterward, with the coach asking Britt where his head was and explaining that he needed to clear things up before Sunday's season opener against the Oakland Raiders.

Otherwise, Fisher said, Britt would be benched to avoid jeopardizing the team.

Britt said Wednesday after practice that the words "just shot me."

"I realized right then and there, 'Yeah, this could really hurt the team, me not being focused out there.' That hurt me," Britt said. "That one game I'm out there and making a fool of myself like I never caught a football a day in my life. Coming in this morning, I was straight focused and straight work."

Britt, who will be 22 on Sept. 19, is talented enough that the Titans last year made him the initial first-round draft pick from Rutgers. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder could be the best receiver Tennessee has had in years, and the Titans expect him to be better this season after leading the team with 701 receiving yards in 2009.

"You look at his size and strength and his speed, and you think of a younger Terrell Owens, in my opinion," Titans safety Vincent Fuller said. "He can be as good as he wants to be. The sky's the limit for him."

Britt played in all 16 games, starting six, as a rookie, and he ranked seventh among NFL rookies and third among AFC first-years with 42 catches. He was No. 8 overall, averaging 16.7 yards per catch.

Britt's greatest highlight? A touchdown catch in the back of the end zone as time expired to beat the Arizona Cardinals 20-17 on Nov. 29. He had a career-best seven catches for 128 yards that day, including a 51-yard catch in the fourth quarter.

Britt had some issues in the past year. He was arrested in January on outstanding traffic warrants in New Jersey, paid $865 and was released. During training camp, he missed curfew after he was ticketed for driving without a license.

Veteran receiver Justin Gage said he and Nate Washington have reminded Britt how much they need him and are trying to keep him positive.

"It's extremely tough for anybody just coming from college into the NFL," Gage said. "You get more money, then the game becomes more of a business. Everybody's detailed to their position, and you have to learn fast, and the game moves a lot faster. ... We have to teach him this is a business."

Britt also has needed to adjust to being away from his son, Aiden, who turned 1 Tuesday and lives in New Jersey. There also has been a learning curve in dealing with the media, online distractions, even with friends and family.

"I've got a lot to prove to the guys in the room and people back home, state of Tennessee, period," Britt said. "All the fans going out there and watching -- I just want to perform for them."

Fisher said his staff was working with Britt to improve focus better and not to dwell on things that go wrong on the field.

"He finished up strong for us at the end of last year," Fisher said. "We just need to create an environment where he can just continue to improve."

Notes: Will Witherspoon was excused from practice Wednesday for personal reasons, and Fisher said he hopes the linebacker is back by Sunday. ... DT Tony Brown (right knee) and OT Mike Otto (right knee) didn't practice. ... DE Jacob Ford (back) and LB Colin Allred (ankle) were limited. ... Gage (right thumb) and LG Leroy Harris (ankle) fully practiced.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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