ORLANDO, Florida – Ravens safety Eric Weddle is a six-time Pro Bowler who regularly offers support and encouragement for some of the young players in the game.
Weddle took Titans safety Kevin Byard under his wing when he first arrived in the NFL, and he's watched him grow.
Byard made it to the Pro Bowl during the 2017 season, but didn't make it back following the 2018 season. Weddle said Byard shouldn't be discouraged.
"He'll be in here many, many years," Weddle said of Byard. "I have been on the other side. You appreciate the times you come, and when it doesn't happen it drives you for the next season. But Kevin's peers, and the players who play the game, and the coaches, they all know what a good season he had. He has nothing to be mad about. He'll be here plenty of times."
Byard had 96 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks in 2018, one season after racking up eight interceptions.
Weddle, a 12-year pro, said he's been a big fan of Byard's since he arrived in the NFL as a third-round pick from MTSU in 2016. The two talk roughly every other week during the season, Weddle said.
Weddle believes big things are in store for Byard, especially with defensive coordinator Dean Pees coming back. Weddle played under Pees when he coached in Baltimore.
"I watch basically every game of his, and try and help him out throughout the season," Weddle said of Byard. "I try and be there for him, as a guy who will listen in the ups and downs of the season. Just seeing him and how he has grown, it's awesome. Under Dean, he is always going to make impact plays, but he has expanded his game, manning guys up and being around the box more and blitzing. Dean will get his game to even greater heights for sure.
"But (Kevin) can do it all. I am super high on him as a player and a person, and he has that drive to be great. And I love that about him. He is going to be a guy I am going to root for and support for a lot of years. He's just a good dude, man. Nothing but the best for him."
TitansOnline.com looks back at safety Kevin Byard's 2018 season. (AP Photos)
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