Only in Nashville: Country Music Star Kenny Chesney Has Sweated with Titans this Summer


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mike Vrabel walked into the training room at Steelers camp early in his playing career and sat down on the table.

"I said: My back is hurting me," the Titans coach recalled on Thursday. "And the guy next to me said: 'Mine is, too.' I look over and the guy was Arnold Palmer. I said to myself, "You've got to be kidding me!"

Some Titans have had a similar experience at Saint Thomas Sports Park in recent months, only the celebrity guest has been a country music star.

Maybe you've heard of him: Kenny Chesney.

"I was kind of pinching myself the other day, thinking: You know, that is something that could only happen in Nashville," Titans kicker Ryan Succop said with a smile. "You don't get that everywhere."

During stretches over the last few months, Chesney has been getting treatment and working out at Saint Thomas Sports Park in preparation for shows on his Trip Around the Sun Tour.

It turns out Vrabel and Chesney go way back.

Roughly 15 years ago, Vrabel went to see a Chesney concert with Kirk Herbstreit in Columbus, Ohio, and the former Buckeyes hit it off with the country music star. Since, the two have remained in touch, through Vrabel's playing career in the NFL, and continuing when he got into coaching.

Vrabel said Chesney contacted him and Titans trainer Todd Toriscelli about using the facility to get treatments so he'd be in good condition for his stadium concerts, and they gave him the green light.

Minus his trademark cowboy hat, Chesney has shown up, and put in hours of work.

"We've talked to him in there multiple times," Titans center Ben Jones said of Chesney. "He's a good dude. He asks us what our days are like, and we ask him how he does the travel, and so many nights of concerts. He talks about how he stays in shape. It is pretty neat to hear how long he has been touring."

Not everyone has recognized the 5-foot-6 Chesney.

"There's been a decent amount of guys who've said: Who's that?," punter Brett Kern said.

While some players have taken pictures with Chesney, others have just let him do his thing.

"I had kind of heard he'd been here, so I wasn't surprised when I saw him," tackle Dennis Kelly said. "I wasn't necessarily star struck."

Vrabel said it's been cool having Chesney around.

"It's been great," Vrabel said. "And it's great to have him comfortable enough. This is a guy who plays in front of millions of people every year. So for him to come here and feel comfortable, it is good. It is good for us. It is good for him. He likes being around."

Several Titans said Chesney offered them tickets to see his show at Nissan Stadium earlier this month.

This weekend, Chesney's tour takes him to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., where Vrabel starred with the Patriots.

Vrabel said Chesney is welcome back any time.

That's music to the ears of some of the Titans, who've enjoyed his company.

"He's a cool guy, and the guy is fit, too," Succop said of Chesney. "You can tell he gets after it. He takes care of himself and it has been good to get to know him and work out with him the last couple of months."

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