NASHVILLE – Kevin Byard looked like he was having the time of his life at Day 1 of Titans camp on Wednesday.
Football is back, and the seventh-year pro was flying around during the 90-minute practice.
After taking off his helmet when the session wrapped up, Byard was swarmed by his two kids – daughter Eliana and son Kevin Byard IV – as he greeted his wife, Clarke.
"It's a beautiful thing," Byard said. "It's a big blessing to have my kids out here, two beautiful children."
Byard said he appreciates every moment even more now after losing his mother a month ago.
What makes him smile is knowing how proud his mother was of him. Byard said he appreciates the love and support from those around him following his mother's unexpected death.
"At times, I feel like I'm still in shock a little bit, it hasn't set all the way in," Byard said after practice. "Some days are good, and some days are tough. But at the end of the day, I think what I have learned throughout this process is you really never know. This thing came out of left field, so (I'm) just trying to wake up every morning with gratitude. Gratitude that I have another day to come into this building, be around the guys.
"I try to come in here every day being grateful that I have another day, and that's what I try to express to the guys. It's the same thing in this building: You never know when it is going to be your day, and you never know when an injury may end everything or just your life, period. I feel like people that have been through this situation will tell you: Love on your loved ones, and make sure you are calling people every day to let them know that you love them."
Byard, a two-time Pro Bowler, has talked glowingly about his mother, Artina Stanley, in the past.
Following a divorce when Byard was in the ninth grade, Byard's mother moved the family from Philadelphia to Atlanta. She worked long hours to make sure her children received what they needed.
In May 2020, the former MTSU star bought his mother a new house.
On June 24 of this year, Byard posted a tribute message to his mom on Instagram, crediting her for his success.
"My mom was everything to me," Byard said on Wednesday. "Her work ethic, every single day. Raising seven kids, (mainly) on her own, is tough on anybody. And she took it in stride and handled it with the utmost character and everything. … Who I am today is because of her, and I owe everything to her.
"One thing I understand, too, thinking spiritually, my mom is with me every single day. It might sound weird, but I talk to my mom a lot and I can hear her voice saying: "Just keep your foot on the gas." And that's what I am going to keep doing every single day."