On the field and inside the locker room at Baptist Sports Park, Nate Washington is surrounded by wide receivers the Titans coveted enough to draft with early round picks.

Kenny Britt, a first-rounder in 2009, occupies a locker next to him. Kendall Wright, a first-rounder last year, resides a few stalls down. Nearby is former University of Tennessee star Justin Hunter, a second-rounder this year.

Washington is comfortable in the setting. It’s nothing new.

“I’ve seen first-, second- and third-round draft picks year in and year out,” said the ninth-year pro, who joined the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Kiffin University in 2005. “No one had ever heard of me when I came in, and nobody knew about Kiffin.

“To still be here playing, it is a true testament to hard work and a good mind, good coaching staffs and organizations who believe in me. Believe me, I appreciate every moment. I’m glad to still be here from where I came from.”

Washington is still with the Titans. There was speculation earlier this offseason that he was on the trading block, but now coaches talk as if they don’t know what they would do without him.

He’s in the best shape of his career, he said. He’s been a standout in organized team activities at a position with plenty of promising and younger options.

“It’s as good as I’ve seen him work on the field and off the field, being a leader and speaking up,” coach Mike Munchak said. “He is our leader. We know how thin that position can get real quickly, and we have a good group to watch. Nate is very much in our plans.”

Washington, who turns 30 in August, had a career-best 1,023-yard season in 2011. Last season he had 28 fewer receptions, but led the team in receiving yards with 746.

He had a highlight-reel touchdown when he caught the ball off a defender’s back against the Lions, and a game-winning catch on fourth down in the final seconds against the Bills.

Because of his $4.2 million base salary for 2013 or because of all the young receivers — or perhaps both — the Titans at least entertained the idea of trading Washington. Indications are they made it known before the draft in April that he was available, but never actively shopped him.

Washington never asked anyone with the Titans about the trade talk, he said. He bristled when the topic came up last month, but this week he insisted he’s not upset.

“I am not worried about it, and never was worried about it, to tell you the truth,” he said. “At the end of the day, I am here, and I am here to do a job. I have no problem with who they brought in or didn’t bring in. It doesn’t matter to me.’’

Washington developed his survivor mentality as a rookie with the Steelers in 2005, when he was behind veterans and draft picks but made the roster out of training camp.

One of the players he beat out was Fred Gipson, a fourth-round pick out of Georgia. By the end of the season, Washington was the fourth receiver and played in Super Bowl XL. He won a second Super Bowl ring in 2008 after a regular season with career bests in receptions and yards.

Washington signed a six-year, $27 million contract with the Titans in 2009. He’s been a regular starter ever since, including this offseason.