NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jason McCourty turned on Monday Night Football the other night, and saw a lot of familiar faces.
The former Titans cornerback, now with the Browns, will square off against his old team this Sunday. He'll face quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee offense, but the play of the team's defense vs. the Colts intrigued him on this night.
"It's cool for me to watch the defense because it's like you're watching a bunch of your friends out there playing," McCourty said. "I guess I won't compare it to watching my brother (Devin McCourty with the Patriots) play. But, whenever I watch my brother play, I'm excited. I want to see him do well.
"Although those guys aren't Dev, I still have really close relationships with those guys. As I'm watching the game, probably there's a few newcomers. The rookie linebacker (Jayon Brown), (Erik) Walden, and then like Adoree' (Jackson) who I don't know personally but everybody else on that defense I have some form of relationship with. Even Logan (Ryan) as one of the newcomers. So, you just get excited for those guys when you see them out there making plays. … When I'm watching them play, you're more like just a fan watching the defense and enjoying some of the things that they were able to do."
McCourty played from 2009-2016 with the Titans, and he was a team captain for three of those seasons. A sixth round draft pick by Tennessee, he was popular in the locker room and the community.
When McCourty was released by the Titans, he signed with the Browns.
He's not sure what it will feel like on Sunday when the Titans visit Cleveland.
"I've never gone through it," McCourty said. "I guess I'm a little confused to see what it will feel like Sunday to go against so many familiar faces, and obviously a team I played for, for eight seasons. Eager, I'm looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity. Probably will be a lot of mixed emotions come Sunday."
McCourty has performed well in Cleveland.
He currently leads the team with three interceptions, including an interception he returned 56 yards for a touchdown at Houston.
McCourty said during a conference call on Tuesday he enjoyed his time in Tennessee.
"Just grateful for the eight years that I did have there,'' he said. "Very happy with the time there. Happy and proud of what I was able to do, and then also just the way the organization treated me. I don't really have any bad things to say about the Titans organization, they were always good to me and my family while I was there."
He said he's settling in with his new team, and new city.
"It's been a transition," he said. "I think the easy part has been the football part of it, making friends with the guys in the locker room, getting used to a new defense, all of that stuff has been easy. Once we started training camp and you start playing football, all that stuff just kind of goes hand in hand. The toughest thing about it is everything outside of football. Having to move your family down here, looking for new schools for the kids, trying to find a babysitter. Just getting acclimated to all the new surroundings, that's been the biggest transition of just trying to build a new network. Football has been really good of the transitioning. Everything outside of it has just been me and my wife just working hand in hand, figuring it out as we go."
When the Browns face the Titans, it will be a big game just because it's the next one, not because it's Tennessee, he said.
"To be honest with you, I think when you're 0-6 you're just trying to win. You're not really thinking about a former team or whatever, the magnitude of the game," McCourty said. "For us, this game is just as big as the game that was against Houston last week. We're obviously sitting in a bad spot right now at 0-6 and we're backed all the way into a corner, all the way into a ditch, however you want to spin it. We're just trying to fight our way out of it. Tennessee is the next opponent on the schedule, our next opportunity."
Titans Online looks back at Jason McCourty's impact, both on and off the field, for the Titans. (Photos: AP, Donn Jones, staff)