LAS VEGAS – Kevin Byard was a single man when he made it to the Pro Bowl back in 2017, his NFL career, and adult life, just getting started.
Fast-forward to today, and here at his second Pro Bowl, the Titans safety can't help but think about how much things have changed in just a few years.
"I have actually been reflecting the last couple of weeks about just how much my life has changed," said Byard, who turns 29 later this year. "I was engaged the first year I went to the Pro Bowl, in Orlando. I'm now married, with a beautiful wife and two beautiful kids, and it is truly a blessing.
"I am so grateful. God has truly blessed me. And I am going to continue to stay humble and understand how special opportunities like these are for me and my family."
Byard, in his sixth NFL season, earned his second Pro Bowl trip after tying for fourth in the NFL and leading the Titans with five interceptions in 2021. Byard also led the team with 88 tackles, and he ranked second on the squad with 13 passes defensed. Byard was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October after registering 27 tackles, three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, a forced fumble and seven passes defensed.
Byard, who ranks third in the NFL with 23 regular season interceptions since the beginning of the 2017 season, is one of four Titans at this year's Pro Bowl. The other three Titans – defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, outside linebacker Harold Landry and guard Rodger Saffold – are at their first Pro Bowl.
"It's awesome," Byard said. "The first time I made it (to the Pro Bowl) it was in Orlando, which is pretty cool. Being out here in Vegas, it's a different environment, but it's always so exciting to be with the best players in the league. And to have three of my guys out here, it is awesome. I told Harold and Jeff, it's funny, the Tennessee Titans stand on effort and finish, and I don't think there's going to be a whole lot of effort and finish during the Pro Bowl. Guys are just out here trying to have fun and having a good time with their family."
Byard brought his wife, Clarke, and his two young children -- daughter, Eliana, and son, Kevin Leon Byard IV, to Las Vegas.
The Byards also brought their nanny.
"We're going to take the kids to the Aquarium, take them to the mall to do a little Build-a-Bear, just different activities the kids want to do," Byard said with a smile. "I know we're going to have a great time."
Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said Byard, a third-round pick of the Titans in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Middle Tennessee State, earned the trip.
"He really grew this year," Robinson said of Byard. "I thought he got back this year stylistically to the way that we thought he was capable of playing. He really soaked in the teachings that Mike (Vrabel) gives the whole team about playing the game, not just his position, but the game, situations. … Just his awareness of the details that ultimately unfold throughout the course of a game. Kevin is vocal, he's a captain. He had a really good year."
Byard, of course, wants a chance to play in a Super Bowl.
He admitted it took him a bit to get over the team's season-ending playoff loss to the Bengals.
He thought this would be the year the Titans would win a Lombardi Trophy.
Another Pro Bowl trip has him motivated for more success – as an individual, and as a team.
"More Pro Bowl appearances, All-Pros, that would be great moving forward," Byard said. "But the next thing on my list is to win a Super Bowl. Winning the Super Bowl is at the top of my list.
"The last few weeks, it has been a lot of reflection, thinking about the games, the would've, could've, should've with our season, all of that. But I am moving forward now. It is great to have this cherry-on-top experience coming to the Pro Bowl, but it also gives me this newfound motivation to work as hard as I can this offseason to make sure I am not playing in the Pro Bowl next year because I'm playing in the Super Bowl."
See the Top Images from Titans players practicing for the Pro Bowl on Thursday in Las Vegas. (Tennessee Titans)