CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Last season was tough to stomach for Tennessee Titans' fans, but it was even tougher for defensive tackle Tony Brown

The Chattanooga native played through knee pain in the first twelve games, finally succumbing to an injury that required microfracture surgery.

"I was definitely in a lot of pain, and I had never experienced that kind of pain before," the eight-year NFL veteran recalled.

While the injury ended his season in January, it also ended his career in Nashville. The Titans released him in July, four days after the end of the NFL lockout.

"I don't want people to think that I'm angry at them because it is a business first," Brown said Thursday afternoon at D1 Sports in Chattanooga. "It wasn't anger. It was more of just disbelief because it was my first time ever having a real serious injury, and I was working my tail off through the whole lockout to get myself prepared to come back for this season."

That's exactly where the former Chattanooga City High standout is right now: working his tail until he gets final medical clearance from Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham in early September.

His current workout is a grueling regimen that includes running ladders, tossing medicine balls and swinging sledgehammers at monster truck tires, among other body-crumbling exercises that have the 285-pounder wishing he was in an NFL training camp.

But despite his current free agent status, he is stressing less about his future than he did when last released by Carolina in 2006.

"At that time then, I was just praying and hoping I'd get another shot," Brown said with a smile. "Now it's more just 'Tony, get yourself ready for when a team calls you.' I just want to make sure everything on my end is okay."

Brown turns 31 in September, so his NFL window is far from closed. He's been in contact with at least six teams and fully expects to have a new home by the start of the regular season in four weeks.

Once there, he expects to be a completely different player than he was the last time he took the field.

"I'm just glad that I feel healthy. It's kind of scary because I haven't felt this way since 2009," Brown said. "I'm just thankful that somebody is still interested in me and still think I'm worth enough to have on their team.

"The change of scenery, meeting new guys, helping a different team win some games, I'm open to it all. I'm just excited about being healthy again, to be honest."