ATLANTA – The end of the 2018 season was painful for Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, but not necessarily because of his injury.
In the midst of a four-game winning streak, Casey suffered a knee injury in the team's December 22 win against the Redskins, and it robbed him of a chance to play in the season finale vs. the Colts, a game with playoff implications.
The Titans lost that contest against Indianapolis, and their season ended short of the playoffs, and their Super Bowl dream.
Here in the Super Bowl LIII city, Casey talked publicly about that heartbreaking moment for the first time while on the Red Carpet at NFL Honors. The memory of that game – and being forced to be a spectator -- will motivate him during the offseason, he said.
"It was definitely hard – very tough for me," Casey said. "I probably cried the first couple of nights. I know it wasn't too bad of a crazy injury, but just to know that I wasn't able to help my team the following week, couldn't participate in one of the biggest games of my career with my teammates, it hurt. It hurt me bad.
"But at the end of the day I have to get ready for another season. I have to chuck that behind me and get ready to go."
Casey finished the 2018 season with 72 tackles, a whopping 50 quarterback pressures, and a team-high seven sacks.
Because of his injury, Casey had to withdraw from the Pro Bowl last month.
Casey, in town as the Titans recipient for the NFL's Man of the Year, said being in Atlanta this week will also provide him motivation heading into his ninth NFL season.
The Titans have finished with a 9-7 mark in three straight seasons.
On Sunday night, the Patriots – a team the Titans trounced 34-10 back in November – won the Super Bowl 13-3 over the Rams.
"After seeing all this, I am bringing more juice," Casey said of the Super Bowl atmosphere. "After the way last season ended, with a bummer, I have a chip on my shoulder, ready to go. I don't like the way I ended my season, so I have to get better, get to 100 percent and be ready to roll.
"This right here makes you even hungrier. I know everybody in the Titans organization is getting prepared for the next season. After being here and seeing all the festivities, you have to want this yourself. This is something we all want."
TitansOnline.com looks back at defensive tackle Jurrell Casey's Pro Bowl season in 2018. (AP Photos)