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Kings of the Castle: Titans Soaking in London Experience


LONDON – The Titans touched down in the United Kingdom early Friday morning, and were greeted by a handful of Titans fans at Heathrow Airport.

When they showed up for practice later in the day, they felt like kings.

"It's pretty cool," linebacker Wesley Woodyard said with a smile. "Any time you can practice with a castle in the background, it's pretty cool. We have to work on some of the mushrooms on the field, but it was a great environment."

On a makeshift football field adjacent to the team's hotel in Syon Park, located roughly 10 miles from Central London, the Titans put the finishing touches on their practice week on Friday. On Sunday, they'll face the Los Angeles Chargers at Wembley Stadium.

At practice, the Titans were watched closely by a large contingent of media from the United Kingdom, along with roughly a half-dozen reporters who made the trip from Nashville.

After practicing in the shadow of a castle, Titans coach Mike Vrabel and four players addressed reporters in a room filled with statues.

"I am pretty sure there's a lot of stuff in here worth a whole lot of money, especially these statues," Titans safety Kevin Byard said with a smile. "I am not sure of the exact value, but I am sure it's pretty expensive."

Titans cornerback Logan Ryan said the London experience is priceless.

"This is an awesome experience for me," Ryan said. "I have been in the league six years, and it's my first time coming here. I am super grateful to have this opportunity, that football has allowed me to come see this."

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota called the practice setting "surreal."

The team worked roughly 90 minutes in the sunshine, putting jet lag and a lack of sleep behind them.

"It is awesome to be here today, to be able to practice out there," Mariota said. "It was a different setting, but I thought we got done what we needed to get done.

"It's all pretty surreal. When you think about where I am from -- an island in the middle of the Pacific (Ocean) and now you are all the way out here playing in London. It is pretty surreal and something I won't take for granted."

The Titans practiced in Nashville on Wednesday and Thursday before traveling to London. The team left Nashville at roughly 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, and arrived in London at 6:30 a.m. Friday (12:30 a.m. Nashville time).

Some players said they slept well on the plane, while others were admittedly dragging, long after they went through customs.

Coach Mike Vrabel complimented his players for how they've handled things.

"I think they've handled everything from the time they left Saint Thomas (Sports Park) in Nashville until now like pros," Vrabel said. "We talk about making the hard look easy … I felt like the practice was good and they were focused."

The Titans were scheduled to have some down time on Friday afternoon, and players had plans to see the sights in London.

On Saturday, the Titans will hold another round of meetings and a walk-through before Sunday's game against the Chargers at Wembley Stadium.

"I am really looking forward to the game," Mariota said. "To be able to expand the game, and share what we love with another country, I think it is a great opportunity."

The Tennessee Titans practice at the Syon House, in Syon Park, south west London, on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

Titans players received a lesson in Cricket 101 with @CricketScotland Bowler @AliEvans647 following Friday's practice in London. (Photos: Donn Jones)

Follow the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders throughout their London adventure! (Photos: Donn Jones, Staff)

Titans players depart Saint Thomas Sports Park to Nashville International Airport for an eight-hour flight to London. (Photos: Gary Glenn)