NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The ending of the 2016 season was a painful one for Eric Weems.
As a member of the Atlanta Falcons, Weems watched in disappointment as the New England Patriots celebrated a world championship after his team lost a big lead in Super Bowl 51.
"It took me some time to get over that loss -- I'm not even going to lie,'' Weems said on Monday. "I think I was in a dark place for two to three weeks, man. My mind was cloudy. It was like a gut punch.
"I am over it now, finally. I think I am over it now. It took a long time, but there's nothing I can do about it now. You live and learn from the experience. Now, hopefully I can get back there as a Titan."
New Titans WR/kick returner Eric Weems signs his contract, meets reporters at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
After spending eight of his first 10 seasons with the Falcons, Weems officially signed with the Titans on Monday.
The veteran return man and special teams ace said he's excited about his opportunity in Tennessee. And he said he wouldn't have come aboard if he didn't believe the Titans were capable of making a run themselves.
"The arrow is pointing up here,'' Weems said of the Titans. "When I was looking to sign somewhere, my whole mindset was to find a team that had a shot to get into the playoffs, and once you get there anything can happen. I want to get back to that big stage. I want to get back there bad."
A Pro Bowler in 2010, Weems ranked sixth in the NFL in punt returns last season with an 11.4 average. He had a 73-yard punt return in Week 2, and also averaged 23.0 yards on 17 kickoff returns last season, with a long of 42. Weems also covers kicks, and will do just about anything asked of him.
"He is a tough football player, and he has good play speed," Titans general manager Jon Robinson said of Weems. "The thing that we liked about Eric is he is certainly returner first, but he also plays on the coverage units and can give us some value on kickoff cover, on punt cover. He has been a personal protector on punts before. So when you are looking at constructing the roster for game day he gives you an extra player, if you will, that can help you on other phases of special teams and not just in the return game."
In 10 NFL seasons, Weems has caught 38 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns. Weems entered the NFL in 2007 as an undrafted free agent out of Bethune-Cookman. He's played eight of his 10 seasons with the Falcons (he played with the Bears in 2012-13).
A Pro Bowler in 2010, Weems will be reunited with Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie, his former position coach in Atlanta, and Titans head coach Mike Mularkey, his former offensive coordinator.
Weems will handle return duties for the Titans.
"It is a fresh start,'' Weems said. "The coaching staff and everyone sees something in me. The GM sees something in me. So I am here not to let those guys down.
"I have a past with Terry and Mike, and also Harry Douglas, who was also with me in Atlanta. I am looking forward to being back around those guys again, and to have fun. Terry and Mike, those are guys who know how to teach the game, not just on the field but off the field they are fun to be around.
"I am just looking forward to being a part of things here. I love the direction this team is going in and I want to do my part to help us win."
TitansOnline.com looks back at the NFL career of WR/Kick Returner Eric Weems. (AP Photos)