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Former Titans Tight End Frank Wycheck Dies at Age 52


NASHVILLE – Frank Wycheck, one of the most popular Titans in team history, has died.

Born October 14, 1971, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wycheck was 52.

Per a statement from the family, "at this time, it appears Wycheck fell inside his Chattanooga, TN home and hit his head on Saturday morning. He was found unresponsive that afternoon."

Wycheck leaves behind two adult daughters, Deanna and Madison, both married, and three grandchildren - Leo, Stevie and August.

The family, per his wishes, plans to work with experts for on-going brain injury (TBI) and CTE research. Funeral services have not yet been made at this time.

"We are all devastated to hear the news of Frank's passing. He was loved by so many, and his memory will always be cherished," Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. "Frank's name was synonymous with Titans football. He was such a huge part of our team's success both on and off the field. He embraced this community and fan base immediately, and everyone loved him right back.

"On the field he always seemed to be open and making key plays – he was even part of a Miracle. He worked to become one of the greatest NFL tight ends of his era, evidenced by his three Pro Bowl appearances. Off the field he was as approachable as anyone could ever be. Following his playing career, he continued his connection with our fans and community through his radio career, and his voice became one of the most recognizable in Middle Tennessee. His on field work and accomplishments rightfully led to his induction in our Ring of Honor, cementing his legacy in our team's lore. We offer our prayers and condolences for Frank's family. Our football family mourns with you."


Wycheck retired after 11 NFL seasons in 2003. He finished his career with 505 receptions, 5,126 yards and 28 touchdowns over 155 games.

At the time of his retirement, Wycheck's 505 career receptions ranked fourth all-time among tight ends behind Shannon Sharpe (815), Ozzie Newsome (662) and Kellen Winslow (541). He was named to the Pro Bowl three times.

During his playing days, the tight end's blue-collar approach earned him respect from teammates, and the competition. He was a stand-up guy in the locker room who was always available for interviews, win or lose. He became a fan favorite the day the Houston Oilers moved to Tennessee.

On that day, in fact, Wycheck was one of the most excited guys on the team.

"When we moved to Nashville, Frank was the first one off the bus. He hit the ground running,'' Coach Jeff Fisher said at the time. "He led the parade.''


Even following his retirement, Wycheck remained a popular public figure in Middle Tennessee. After his playing career, Wycheck did color commentary for Titans Radio, and he was a popular sports talk radio host for 104.5-FM's "The Wake Up Zone" in Nashville. Wycheck ended up moving back home to Philadelphia, before moving to Chattanooga more recently to be with his family.

Wycheck played in 137 games with the Titans, and he caught 28 touchdowns. During one stretch he had a team-record 99 consecutive games in which he caught at least one pass. Wycheck led the Titans in receiving for three consecutive seasons (1999-2001). He also went 5-for-6 passing the ball in his career, resulting in 148 yards and two touchdowns, with a perfect passer rating of 158.3.

The signature play of his career ended up being a lateral on a kickoff return, known simply as the Music City Miracle. It was Wycheck who threw the cross-field pass to Kevin Dyson during the AFC Wild Card game against the Bills on Jan. 8, 2000. Dyson then went 75 yards for a touchdown in Tennessee's win.

Wycheck was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2013, and he was honored as the 12th Titan prior to the Titans' 2013 regular-season opener against the Chargers. Wycheck is a member of the franchise's Ring of Honor.

He had his hand in several charitable projects throughout his career, best known for his efforts with Special Olympics Tennessee. His annual Harley Ride for Special Olympics Tennessee gained fame and earned substantial contributions for the non-profit.

"Overall, I think he was one of the top players ever to play for us because of what he did both on and off the field," late Titans owner Bud Adams said when Wycheck retired.

Wycheck arrived in the NFL as a sixth-round pick by Washington out of the University of Maryland. He was signed by the Houston Oilers in 1995, and he became a Titan.

A number of concussions ultimately contributed to Wycheck's decision to retire at the age of 32.

But he hardly left with regrets.

"I did everything I set out to do and much more,'' Wycheck said at his retirement press conference. "From a guy who wasn't even supposed to be in a training camp, let alone to where I ended up, I'm truly proud and I couldn't ask for anything more. It's been a truly great ride."


A look back at the career of one of the franchise's greats -- tight end Frank Wycheck. (Photos: AP, Donn Jones, Tennessee Titans)

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