NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Everything is new to Titans linebacker Kamalei Correa, from the city to his teammates to his coaches to his uniform to the locker room at Nissan Stadium.
Well, almost everything is new.
Correa, acquired by the Titans on Tuesday via a trade with the Ravens, looked to his left and easily recognized his locker room neighbor last night – quarterback Marcus Mariota. The two were teammates in high school at St. Louis School in Honolulu. And after Thursday night's game vs the Vikings, Mariota was Correa's ride home.
"I am just blessed to be on the same team with him," Correa said of Mariota. "He's a brother to me. He's a great person first and foremost. Having him here is going to make the whole transition easier. … We are family."
Correa was in uniform – No.46 -- for Thursday night's game, although he didn't play.
Correa arrived in town just the other day, after the two teams worked out a trade.
It's been a crazy few days, Correa said.
"Hectic, just crazy," he said. "I went to sleep in Baltimore and woke up in Nashville. It's just wild. It's just an experience you can't really explain, but it is a blessing to be here. I am just happy to be here and I am trying to help the Titans win in any way possible."
But Correa said it's been a great transition so far.
He thanked the Ravens for giving him a chance, but he's a Titan now.
"Great people," he said of the Titans. "From the moment I walked in, it's all love from everywhere -- offense, defense, special teams to coaches. It is just a great bunch of guys and I am just ready to go to work with them. … I am very happy to be here."
A second-round pick (42nd overall) by the Ravens in the 2016 NFL Draft, Correa has played in 25 career games, with four starts. His statistics include 11 tackles, one forced fumble and eight special teams stops. An all-conference performer at Boise State, Correa totaled 27 starts and 40 games over his three-year college career. Correa totaled 110 career tackles, 20 sacks, 31.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles for the Broncos.
Correa (6-3, 249) has played both inside and outside linebacker in his career. He was coached in Baltimore by Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees in Baltimore.
"The initial conversation was, "Hey, you're here for a reason'," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Correa. "You're here to play, you're here to define a role for yourself, starting with the kicking game and then we'll move to outside linebacker and we'll progress from there. He is familiar with the defense, and he's familiar with Dean. We're excited to work with him, and it seemed to me like he was excited to be here."
Correa said he's not sure what his exact role will be with the Titans.
His career appears to be on the upswing. In Baltimore's preseason opener against the Bears, Correa played 37 snaps and finished with six tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble, an interception and two passes defended.
"I hope so," he said. "I have put in a lot of work in the preseason … I just have to continue to make strides and get better every day."
After Thursday's game, Correa left the locker room with Mariota.
When the Titans begin preparations for the regular season opener vs. the Dolphins, Correa said he'll be ready to go.
He's ready to help his new team.
"It's just a new journey," Correa said. "It's football, and I am with the Titans right now. And I am ready to rock and roll.
"Whatever I can do to help this team win ballgames, that's what I am going to do."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4 of the preseason on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4 of the preseason on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)