NASHVILLE – When the Titans went looking for help rushing the passer earlier this offseason, they signed Arden Key.
It turns out they also got a vocal sparkplug, someone who is not afraid to liven things on the practice field.
Key has made his presence known in OTAs, with his play, and his voice.
He knows it, and so does everyone else – from players on the offensive side of the ball to his defensive teammates to even practice field visitors. Just the other day, Key was razzing visiting members of Auburn's coaching staff after practice, letting them know he thinks LSU, his alma mater, is home of the real Tigers. The group enjoyed some lighthearted banter.
"I think me and Jeff (Simmons) are racing to be the most energetic guy," Key said with a smile. "But I like it, especially outside at practice. If I am on the field you are going to hear me, and if I am off the field you are going to hear me. I am always encouraging the guys on the field and that's what I feel I am best at – encouraging guys."
The Titans signed Key back in March after facing him in 2022 when he was with the Jaguars.
A third-round pick of the Raiders in the 2018 NFL Draft, Arden's career has blossomed in recent years while with the 49ers and then Jacksonville.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder tallied 4.5 sacks, 15 quarterback hits and 27 tackles last season with the Jaguars, when he played in 17 games, starting three of the final four during the team's run to the postseason.
Titans outside linebackers coach Ryan Crow thinks Key will prove to be a nice addition.
"When he became a free agent, I was excited when we got him," Crow said of Key. "He brings a lot of energy to the room, a lot of energy to the building, a lot of energy to the field. He is a great teammate and a great person. He also has some really cool attributes as a player. He is slippery, he is a longer, bigger body. He goes hard, he goes really hard. Putting that all together, with the guys he is around up front, and the guys he is around on defense and the whole team. I am excited to see where it goes."
Key, 27, posted career highs in sacks (6.5) and quarterback hits (17) with the 49ers in 2021, when Titans general manager Ran Carthon served as director of player personnel in San Francisco.
In five NFL seasons, Key has played in 71 games, with 13 starts. He's tallied 14 sacks, 61 tackles and 58 quarterback hits.
Key's addition came after the team released outside linebacker Bud Dupree. He's expected to be a factor on defense, playing opposite Harold Landry and others.
Key said he's spending the offseason getting his footwork "down pat."
"I am switching sides, so trying to get the footwork down as a left defensive end, or outside linebacker," he said. "All and all, it is just footwork and hands (I'm focusing on) right now."
Key said he already feels comfortable with his new teammates.
Despite being a Jaguar a year ago, he said he's never had any issues with his new Titans teammates.
"There's no player on this team right now that I didn't like before coming here," Key said. "Just getting used to (new teammates), and getting around the players, it's a process coming in, being the new guy, trying to understand the culture and learning how they operate around here.
"But a lot of those guys welcomed me with open arms."