Titans middle linebacker Colin McCarthy has a new look, sporting a shaved head as a tribute to one of his idols.

“It’s for Urlacher, since he hung it up,” said McCarthy, referring to former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who retired last month after 13 seasons. “Hopefully it will bring me good luck, and bring me 16 games of playing.”

It’s what’s going on inside McCarthy’s head, however, that has him feeling like a new man of late. After suffering a concussion last season and dealing with lingering symptoms into the offseason, he has a new outlook for 2013.

“I’m feeling as good as I’ve felt in a long, long time,” he said. “… It’s good to have all that behind me. I know I have to get back to my old ways, and now I feel like I’m not that far off. Things are positive.”

As frustrating as last season was for McCarthy — he missed nine games because of an ankle injury and persistent post-concussion concerns — this offseason tested him just as much.

In January, he had surgery on his right ankle and has a nasty scar to show for it after doctors removed a bone among other things. All of last season, the Titans and McCarthy referred to the injury as an ankle sprain, and McCarthy was adamant about playing through the discomfort.

“It’s football, I guess,” he said.

McCarthy didn’t expect to be dealing with concussion symptoms this offseason, too. And on top of his injury issues, the Titans signed veteran middle linebacker Moise Fokou, who worked with the first team throughout the offseason.

McCarthy was left in a frustrating position, but he now has reason for optimism going into training camp after meeting with Dr. Mickey Collins, a concussion specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Collins altered McCarthy’s offseason approach and gave him new instructions to help with the symptoms. McCarthy returned to Pittsburgh prior to minicamp last week.