By TERESA M. WALKER
NASHVILLE – Chance Warmack passed his conditioning test and the Tennessee Titans are wasting no time getting their first-round draft pick onto the field.
Warmack was the last of players selected in the first round of the NFL draft to agree to his contract. After getting the deal done on Monday, he reported and quickly passed his conditioning test before going through a walk-through Tuesday morning.
The three-time national champion at Alabama is expected to be the Titans’ starting right guard.
After missing the first four practices of training camp, he will participate in a fully padded workout on Tuesday night. His teammates, especially on the defensive line, can’t wait to “whoop up” on Warmack and help prepare him for the regular season after the limits of the offseason program.
“We’re going to give him everything we got,” defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said. “We’re going to come at him full speed. He don’t get no break.”
Casey has started 31 of his 32 games through his first two seasons, so he’s ready to help test the All-American who stands 6-foot-2 and 323 pounds. Casey said the pace with pads is much higher than the organized team activities and minicamp Warmack went through in May and June.
“I got to run right through him and put him on his butt,” Casey said. “That’s my goal through this whole time. Knocking him into the backfield getting to the quarterback and getting to the runner. He’s going to be in my way. I got to get through him.”
Warmack spent his time waiting for his contract to be finalized working out in Tuscaloosa, Ala., trying to stay in shape and be ready. He had a few boxes of new, size 18 cleats stacked in front of his locker, and Warmack said he was excited for his first time wearing pads in the NFL.
“The sky’s the limit and just can’t wait to get out there,” Warmack said.
Warmack agreed to a four-year deal worth a reported $12.1 million with an option for a fifth year. The Titans took Warmack at No. 10 overall and immediately plugged him into right guard, switching a lineman who started his last 40 games at left guard. Warmack wanted to play for a pair of Hall of Fame offensive linemen in Titans coach Mike Munchak and offensive line coach Bruce Matthews.
“This is all new to me, and I wouldn’t be lying if I said I wasn’t a little anxious to get back on the field,” Warmack said. “Everything happens for a reason. I just give it up to God, and it worked out.”
Now Warmack has to start playing catch-up on what he missed over the first four days of camp. He worked throughout the organized team activities and minicamp, but he didn’t work beside right tackle David Stewart, who was recovering from a broken right leg. Warmack said he knows he missed out with his absence.
“As an offensive lineman, you have to mesh with your teammates and the other offensive linemen,” Warmack said. “I worried about missing. You miss more days, it takes longer to catch up. I’m happy everything worked out as soon as it did, especially for my position. I didn’t miss a lot of days. I’m happy I’m back and I’m able to catch up quickly.”
His linemates will be happy to answer any questions, along with likely sticking Warmack with a dinner check — or two — soon. Left guard Andy Levitre, who took part in team drills himself just as camp opened, said he doubts Warmack is too far behind.
“Obviously getting back in the swing of not being here for about six weeks takes a little getting used to,” Levitre said. “Hopefully, things will come to him fast since he has a pretty good understanding of the offense.”
Warmack’s return leaves the center spot as the only piece of the offensive line yet to be settled. Fernando Velasco, who started 13 games at center last season, and Rob Turner have been rotating at center with rookie Brian Schwenke also expected to push for playing time.