From Super Bowl LVI: Titans Safety Kevin Byard Wants His Legacy to Include Bringing a Title to Tennessee


LOS ANGELES – Titans safety Kevin Byard loves everything about the current state of the Titans.

Just this week, his head coach got a contract extension, and so did the team's general manager.

The Titans are coming off a 12-win season, which earned the AFC's No. 1 seed.

And while the season ended in disappointment, Byard is hopeful – and confident – about what's ahead.

"I've been thinking a lot over the past few weeks, and I can't lie, it's been tough getting over (our season-ending playoff loss to the Bengals)," Byard said on Friday from Super Bowl LVI Radio Row. "After a lot of reflection, I just came to the conclusion that it just wasn't our time. But obviously, being around here this week, being around so many great players and coaches and talking to media, it is motivating honestly. Going into this offseason it makes you motivated to be playing in this game next year.

"Next year's team is obviously going to look a little bit different – free agency hasn't started, and the draft hasn't started. But the community, and myself personally, I trust Jon (Robinson), and I trust (Mike) Vrabel. I know they are going to add some pieces, and some guys from last year will not be on the team. That's the way it goes. But I think the core guys that we have on defense and offense, we have good enough leadership for guys to come in and buy into our message and buy into what we're doing to make another run at this thing."

Byard, who spent some time on the set with Jim Rome on Friday, said he was happy to see Vrabel named the NFL's Coach of the Year on Thursday night at NFL Honors.

"I called it out a few months ago," Byard said with a smile. "Honestly, I know he doesn't like us campaigning during the year, but he did a great job. He's one of the best coaches I've ever had, and it's well deserved."

Byard also loved seeing Vrabel and Robinson awarded with contract extensions earlier this week.

"The culture, it's in a great spot," Byard said of the Titans. "Jon, I was part of his first draft class. The drafts he's been able to have, the guys he has brought in, you are talking about a time where I don't think any big stars or any big players wanted to come play in Nashville and now we've had a complete turnaround where guys want to come to Nashville and guys want to be a part of what we have.

"At the Pro Bowl, seeing a lot of guys speak highly of Vrabel. It's just a great spot and I definitely think the foundation of this team and what we are all about is going to be here for a long time."

Byard also believes he's just entering his prime, and he wants to do everything he can to help the team win a Super Bowl.

In his sixth NFL season, Byard 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 ranks third in the NFL with 23 regular season interceptions since the beginning of the 2017 season.

"For me, and I was having a conversation last night with Reggie Wayne, because he talked about his days of beating the Titans and winning the Super Bowl," Byard said of the former Colts receiver. "It's all about legacy now. Obviously, I've had two Pro Bowls, I have two All-Pros. The thing that I'm missing is chasing the ring.

"I haven't won Defensive Player of the Year, but obviously if you talk to Aaron Donald, he'll be saying the same thing. It's all about having a great legacy. I want to go down as one of the all-time Titan greats. Eddie George was able to take the team to a Super Bowl, and obviously if Steve McNair was still living, that's why these guys are so memorialized in Nashville because they were able to take the team to the highest place, and I want to be a part of that, and obviously go ahead and win the big game."

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