Fans Come from Near and Far to Enjoy First Weekend of Practices




NASHVILLE, Tenn. --** Titans fans turned out in large numbers over the weekend, as approximately 5,800 people filed through Baptist Sports Park to watch the start of the team's 2009 training camp.

Fans, both young and old, were seen donning their favorite player's jerseys. They anxiously held onto footballs or other items in anticipation of players signing their autograph once practice concluded. Families brought lawn chairs, plenty of water, and posted up against the fence with all of the action on the farthest field. Fans watched in excitement with cameras and cell phones in hand that captured the moment. Others contently sat in the bleachers and watched from a distance.

Across the Miles

Throughout Nashville, Titans flags were boastfully hung from houses, posters plastered on restaurant windows and bumper stickers seen on the back of many cars.

But the Titans have a supporting fan base outside of Nashville as well. They have managed to capture the spirits and influence of fans across the nation, coming off an NFL-best 13-3 season and selling out their season tickets for an 11th consecutive year.

Mike Lewis' family hails from a small town 45 minutes west of Albuquerque, N.M. He stated they have been loyal fans ever since the Titans transferred to Tennessee. "We have made the trip to Nashville three times, just for training camp," he said.

The family unanimously agreed they were in favor of the Titans' new additions to the 2009 roster, and expressed the team has big expectations to fill.

International Family Feud

Twelve-year old cousins David Warner and Josh Sanders were very enthusiastic to be at training camp. It was Warner's first time, and he came all the way from Holland to see some NFL football. Sanders proudly supported his team by wearing a Titans jersey, and mentioned this was his second time to make the 10-hour trek from Ashland, Va. It's all fun and games between the boys right now, but when the season comes around, tension will be present, no matter the international distance.

Warner admitted he pulls for the Titans' AFC South rival Houston Texans. Sanders, however, remained confident he is pulling for the better team. "I enjoy watching Vince Young because he is explosive and fast," Sanders said.

Although he was most vocal about his favorite quarterback, he also stated that the "defense was crushing the quarterbacks, but we look good."

Spoken like a true training camp veteran.

Finnegan Fan Favorite

Training camp has evolved into an annual trip for Shell Walker. She recently adopted the Titans as her favorite team a few years ago after moving to Nashville. She was born in Gary, Ind., not too far from Tennessee's AFC South-rival Indianapolis Colts. Apparently there was no hesitation to jump on the Titan train after she moved south.

"I dropped the Colts and have been with the Titans ever since I moved here," she said. "I like watching LenDale White and Chris Hope, but my main man is Cortland Finnegan."

Lounged back in her folding chair against the fence, Walker said she didn't come just for football. "I also like catching rays of the sun."

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