Jurrell Casey Challenged on and Off the Field


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Jurrell Casey has proven he can hold his own on the football field.

The 305-pound defensive lineman has pushed around, maneuvered past, and outworked large offensive linemen for five years in the NFL as a member of the Tennessee Titans.

Yet he's met his match off the field in fiancée Ryann Gray, who has passed the bar exam in California and Tennessee after graduating from Loyola Law School. She's currently with the Public Defender's Office in Nashville.

"She's a very strong woman,'' Casey said of Gray. "I am very proud of her."

So, does Casey ever win any arguments?

"Never,'' Casey said with a smile. "We debate all the time. It is actually great. She teaches me a whole lot, but you ain't winning no (argument)."

Casey doesn't seem to mind. On the couple's wedding website, in fact, Casey is wearing a shirt that reads "Real Men Marry Lawyers."

The Titans, of course, don't mind if Casey comes up on the short end of verbal sparring over board games, household chores or hot topics with his lawyer fiancée – the two are scheduled to be married on July 1. Just as long as he wins his battles on the football field, that's all that matters.

And coming off a Pro Bowl season, Casey said he's as motivated as ever. He said he learned from the experience, and picked up some valuable tips along the way.

"Definitely,'' Casey said. "I appreciate (the Pro Bowl experience) every day, especially to get the opportunity to be around all the great players. I think it was a real eye-opener for me to see how hard you have to work to get there and when you do get there, the learning experience you can get from those guys. You are only around them for a short period of time, but they have a lot of knowledge and it is something that is pushing me to try and get out there again for another year."

Casey does have one regret, he admits. Previously, he turned down two chances to go to the Pro Bowl an as alternate.

In 2015, Casey started all 16 games at defensive tackle, and tied for the team lead with seven sacks. Casey ranked second on the team with 11 tackles for loss, and a career-high 28 quarterback pressures, while also racking up 86 tackles.

After turning down a chance to go to the Pro Bowl in back-to-back years as an alternate, Casey opted to go this past year when a spot opened up. In 79 career games, he's recorded 28 sacks, and totaled over 70 tackles in all five NFL seasons.

"I definitely wish I would've done it earlier,'' Casey said. "It actually humbled me a little bit, seeing all the guys there. I think I should've just went as an alternate, at the end of the day it wasn't that bad. You have so many great players in this league, I can't be a guy who thinks I am better than the next guy because everyone is fighting every year to get there. I think it has humbled me a whole lot, to think when you do get in as an alternate just take it. It's a great learning experience going there."

A two-time team captain, Casey reported to the team for the start of the offseason program on Monday. He's been working out with his teammates the past few days, preparing for the 2016 season.

Following an offseason of change – 10 new players have been added since March -- inside the building, Casey said he's ready for more success in 2016, individually, and as a team. He learned by watching some of his peers at the Pro Bowl.

His bride-to-be, of course, also keeps him on his toes.

"I am here for the long haul and I am dedicated to this team, so no matter, every time the season starts I know we are looking to get on the right path and start winning games,'' Casey said. "I am very confident. We can only really go up, we can't really go down any more."

TitansOnline.com looks back at DT Jurrell Casey's 2015 season. (AP Photos)

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