Could Kenny Britt Resurrect Career, Shock the NFL in 2014?

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Could Kenny Britt Resurrect Career, Shock the NFL in 2014?
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Once upon a time, Kenny Britt was considered one of the NFL's top young receivers, a star in the making.

Of course, once upon a time, people also thought the world was flat. Both seem equally long ago.

As Britt enters his sixth NFL season, on a new team with his old coach, the 25-year-old is trying to get his career back on track.

After five tumultuous seasons in Tennessee, Britt joined the St. Louis Rams on a one-year deal in free agency. Britt was reunited with head coach Jeff Fisher in the Gateway City, and Fisher likes what he's seen in OTAs so far, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN:

On some level, it makes sense. After all, Britt enjoyed the two best seasons of his career when he and Fisher were together with the Titans in 2009 and 2010.

Kenny Britt 2009-2010
Year G Rec. Yards Avg. TD
2009 16 42 701 16.7 3
2010 12 42 775 18.5 9

Per NFL.com

After Britt scored nine touchdowns and averaged 18.5 yards a catch in 2010 (sixth in the NFL among players with 40 or more catches), it looked like the sky was the limit.

Unfortunately, that was as good as things ever got.

2010 also marked Britt's first brush with the law since entering the NFL. It would not be his last.

Not even close.

Kenny Britt Rap Sheet
Date Location Charge(s)
1/15/2010 New Jersey Traffic Warrants
8/4/2010 Tennessee Driving on Revoked License
2/9/2011 New Jersey Criminal Complaint; Theft by Deception
4/12/2011 New Jersey Felony Eluding of Police
6/8/2011 New Jersey Drug Possession, Resisting Arrest
6/29/2011 Tennessee Surrendered on Warrants; False Claim on License App
7/20/2012 Kentucky DUI

Per U-T San Diego Player Arrest Database

The offseason that wasn't, thanks to the 2011 lockout, featured a flurry of run-ins with police. The only thing that prevented a suspension was the fact that no collective bargaining agreement was in effect at the time.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Britt tore his ACL in September of 2011, wiping out his third season.

From there, Britt's numbers plummeted. The arrests, however, continued, costing Britt the first game of the 2012 campaign.

By 2013, with injuries a constant issue and with as many incidents with the law on his resume as touchdowns since the end of the 2010 season, Britt had fallen completely out of favor in Nashville. Britt played in more games in 2013 (12) than he caught passes (11).

Now, Britt finds himself in St. Louis, where he's looking forward to a second chance at NFL success.

"Oh man, it's everything to me, to tell you the truth," Britt told Nate Latsch of Fox Sports Midwest. "My mind's free. I'm relaxed right now. I'm taking this year as a rookie year, (like when) I first came into the league. That's my mind state right now."

It appears Britt is taking that "mind state" onto the practice field, per 101 ESPN NFL Insider Tony Softli:

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch passed along word that Britt was up to some of his old deep-ball antics:

Quarterback Sam Bradford has also been impressed with Britt's performance, according to Latsch:

He's a big, explosive wide receiver who can make plays down the field. He's looked good in his time here. I think just watching him and the energy that he comes onto the field with every day has been great. Not only for the offense, but for that wide receiving corps in general. I just feel like he brings kind of a presence and an energy that hasn't been there in the past.

That's not the only thing Bradford's been missing.

The Rams have been trying to assemble a receiving corps for their franchise passer for years. The team has assembled more than a little young talent in Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Chris Givens, Brian Quick and Austin Pettis.

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However, murderers' row it ain't, and Bailey will miss the season's first four games. The opportunity is there for Britt to not only make the team but also see more than a little playing time early in the season.

Of course, what Britt does from there is up to him. His knees will have to cooperate, and he'll need to stay out of trouble.

There have already been some rumblings in that regard. As Kevin Manahan of NJ.com reports, a pornographic video was posted to (and then deleted from) Britt's Instagram account in May. Additionally, a night club dust-up from way back in 2010 has resulted in a civil suit against Britt, according to NewsChannel5.com.

With that said, though, the Rams don't have anything on the line with Britt. If it doesn't work out for whatever reason, they can cut him loose and move on.

If early returns are any indication, though, Britt is serious about this comeback, and the opportunity is there for the taking.

It may turn out that all Kenny Britt needed to turn around his career was a change of scenery.

Well, that and a familiar face running the show.

 

Gary Davenport is an NFL Analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPManor.

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