NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jason McCourty strolled into Saint Thomas Sports Park and the expression on his face said it all.
A few minutes later, Titans teammate Al Woods followed him into a building that looked much different compared to the last time they'd seen it.
"Dang!,'' Woods said. "What am I walking into?"
And that was before the two had laid eyes on the glitzy new locker room.
"When you come into the building now, you know you are an NFL team, and the guys appreciate that,'' defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said. "You see guys and they are like, 'Did you see the locker room? Have you checked that out? Everybody is hyped about it. For the organization to give us nice things like this, we need to give them wins."
When the Titans wrapped up their offseason program in mid-June, work began on a renovation project at the team's headquarters in MetroCenter. The changes are obvious from the time players walk in from the parking lot, and see the new lettering on the glass doors.
Be a champion on and off the field. Love your family. Ignore the noise and stay focused.
Straight ahead is the lit up Titans fireball logo. Just inside the building and to the left is a giant Vince Lombardi trophy with the words "One team. One goal."
Throughout the area most traveled by players, you'll find inspirational words and understand the vision of what brand the Titans want to be under coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Jon Robinson.
The state-of-the-art, wide-open locker room is the highlight of the project completed in roughly six weeks. It changed the look inside the building, home of the team since 1999.
"As soon as I walked it there was a wow factor to it,'' safety Rashad Johnson said. "It brings fresh energy to the place for sure. I knew it was going to happen, but I wasn't expecting it to be what it is now."
Check out the new and improved locker room, hallways and practice bubble at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
"It's dope,'' defensive lineman DaQuan Jones said. "It is pretty amazing."
Mularkey and Robinson thanked ownership for making it happen. The Titans also replaced the bubble at STSP this offseason, installed new turf inside the indoor practice facility, and updates continue at Nissan Stadium.
"Going all the way back to when Jon and I were first hired, we've been talking about change, and this is part of it,'' Mularkey said. "Amy has been really instrumental in helping us basically create a new facility. From when the players walk in from the outside, even the landscaping into the entrance, it is all new. It is like walking into a new place.
"We wanted it to be different than it's been. We have not had success the last couple of years. Change is good. We wanted to make this a first-class organization and make it look like one and I think we have done that."
Robinson said the building "has been transformed."
"(I've heard) a lot of wows. A lot of "This is amazing!,' Robinson said. "Guys couldn't be happier with their new work place.
"I think the colors blend well, the messages blend well. There's a lot of steel element, which is a "tough" vision thing aesthetically. The locker room is open, and before it was closed off. Now you can look across you locker room and see all of your teammates. The place really is first-class from the entry all the way around."
In the hallways, the message is delivered with flashy colors, photos, and murals:
Among the mantras on the walls:
A good plan violently executed now is better than the perfect play next week. … Work uphill all week, so you can play downhill on Sundays. … Teamwork means success. Work together, win together. … Individuals play the game. Teams win championships. … Miracles are made through hard work and discipline.
On one wall, a larger-than-life image of Titans tight end Delanie Walker appears while making a play on a Sunday last fall. Other players are highlighted throughout the building.
On pillars on one hallway are the words: Dependable, Team-First, Tough. There's a sword by one entry to the locker room. On another wall, the team's Pro Bowl players are highlighted on steel wall plates.
"It is awesome,'' center Ben Jones said. "Everything is done with high character, quality. It is more functional, and guys are going to want to stay around a little longer. The more time you are be around your teammates, the better you will be. Guys are excited."
The new locker room really stands out.
The room got additional space by knocking out the old players' lounge, and the lockers in the middle of the room were removed.
New lockers, new carpet and new televisions decorate the spacious locker room. There's a huge, lit-up, Titans fireball logo on the ceiling. Two round tables with a Titans logo, surrounded by cushioned stools, are in the middle of the locker room.
"From where it was in OTAs to where it is now, it's like a totally different building,'' rookie Kevin Byard said. "All the things they've done, it looks great. And it gives us a fresh energy going into training camp. It is refreshing. … It is like state of the art everything. It is amazing."
On the walls above the lockers, in different portions of the locker room, are the words "Finish. Dominate. Relentless. Detailed. Physical. Disciplined."
"Getting a new locker room is kind of like a fresh start, getting a makeover,'' added DaQuan Jones. "We have a lot of new faces and a lot of change going on here as an organization and this is a part of it."
The hallway from the locker room to the weight room has also been transformed, with glitzy graphics and messages: "The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards. Good enough is never good enough. Hard work wins."
The team meeting room also has a different look, and another message: "Do something every day that will move us closer to a world championship. We need to play at a level our opponent is unable or unwilling to play at."
"For myself, and guys like Craig Stevens and Brett Kern, guys who have been here for a while,'' said cornerback Jason McCourty, who has been with the team since 2009, "all of this really means a lot.
"We love Nashville and love the organization and what they have done for us and our families and to see the changes that have gone on, it is really exciting, not only for the older guys but the younger guys as well.
"So much effort is being done to help us be the best we can be and to help us win football games as the end result."