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New Titans CB Chidobe Awuzie Aims to Turn Into Grandmaster in New Defense in Tennessee


NASHVILLE – Chidobe Awuzie is an avid chess player who has regularly squared off against some of the best in the NFL in competitions.

The Titans cornerback took home fourth place in a recent contest on He'd previously won the event, and he placed second another year.

"I thought it was just a fun thing," Awuzie said with a smile. "This year, people were talking about how they were training with Grandmasters. … Now that I know people are taking it that seriously, I'll be on my bag next year."

On the football field, Awuzie is doing his best to get up to speed on a new team, while playing in a new defense under defensive coordinator Dennard Wilson.

Awuzie said the transition has been going great.

"The No.1 thing, it starts with coach Wilson right now, just setting a standard," Awuzie said. "Everyone is matching each other's intensity. Right now, he's the one setting the tone in the meeting room, and we have to come out here and match his intensity. At some point, us players, when we get comfortable in the system, we are going to be the ones setting the tone and the intensity. We're still on that path. Everyone has that same vision in mind, that aggressiveness. We just have to get there."

In seven NFL seasons, the 6-foot, 202-pound Awuzie has played in 86 career games, with 74 starts, and he's tallied 368 tackles with six interceptions and 62 passes defensed.

In his last three seasons with the Bengals, the 28-year-old Awuzie broke up 25 passes and intercepted two passes in 37 games played, including 32 starts. Awuzie played in 15 games, including 10 starts, in 2023, when he totaled 56 tackles and six passes defensed. Awuzie began his NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

As Awuzie gets comfortable in Tennessee, he could lean on his chess experience to help.

It turns out chess translates to football, Awuzie said.

"Chess is a game where you have to recognize positions, like, 'OK, I have been in this position before. How was I attacked? Or, maybe I made the wrong move before and now that I've seen this position before, I know the right move to make," Awuzie said. "In football, it's the same thing. Pattern recognition. You may see a formation … and you are able to attack it. I think chess, with my mind, it has helped me diagnose things better."

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