Thursday, May 22, 2014
My first week with the Tennessee Titans has been the most memorable week of my life. When I arrived at camp, I was surrounded by guys from big-time, division 1 football programs. At first it was hard to believe that I belonged on a team with these guys, but over the course of the week we were put through numerous workouts and practices that put my questions to rest.
In addition to the 19 rookie signings (drafted and undrafted), the Titans flew in about 20 guys on Thursday to participate in rookie minicamp and tryout for the team. Camp ran from Friday until Sunday, consisting of 3 practices in just helmets, and 2 walk-throughs (the word "walk" being used very loosely). It was a physically and mentally exhausting weekend. We implemented more in 3 days than I implemented in my entire 5 years at Westminster. When I wasn't in meetings or at practice, I spent my time with my nose in the playbook.
Minicamp practices were far more intense than in college (especially the D3 practices I was accustomed to). Not only do these guys have world-class speed, strength, agility, and skill, but they are playing for jobs. While I had never played with or against players of this caliber, I performed very well in these practices, receiving lots of positive feedback from tight end coach Mike Mularkey, who has coached future hall of fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. Because of my solid performance, I survived the first round of cuts, thus solidifying myself as a part of the Titans' 90 man preseason roster.
While we rookies are competing with one another, there is still a strong sense of brotherhood. The rookie class is composed of guys from many different backgrounds, but at this moment in time we are all in a similar position and share the same goal.
In addition to all the practices, training, meetings and film, we have been attending player engagement meetings where we discuss goals, teamwork, and how to handle the NFL lifestyle. These meetings are very informative and help us prepare ourselves for what's to come.
Overall, I'm happy with how my first week went, but I am nowhere near satisfied. I have a lot more room to grow and a long way to go before I'm where I want to be. To date, my NFL experience has left me feeling blessed, excited, and hungry.
Photo Credit: Donn Jones