NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Patrick Bailey, Dexter McCluster, Michael Preston, Brian Schwenke and George Wilson joined a record crowd at LP Field Saturday for the third annual Mayor's Field Day with the Titans.
The Titans players signed autographs, posed for photos and talked football with fans after the participants completed several games and activities on the playing surface. They encouraged attendees to live a healthy and active lifestyle and shared in the excitement of the upcoming season during the free event.
Mayor Karl Dean began the day's events with a 1-mile walk around the stadium that finished by taking participants through the tunnel that the Titans use to take the field. The walk was the first installment of his third "Walk 100 Miles with the Mayor" campaign that will take place this summer.
"It's just another activity that the mayor is putting on and partnering here with the Titans to promote physical activity," Wilson said. "Another thing the mayor said today about not only working your physical body but working your mind as well, encouraging the kids to read, as well as to be physically active. We used the Titans stadium to bring awareness to the event. When I pulled up today, I didn't expect this many people.
"When I saw all the kids, I just felt right at home," Wilson continued. "They embraced us, and it was truly a great event. I just try to let them know how much I appreciate them. They make our game go, they drive our industry, and without them, we wouldn't have a job. It's me expressing my appreciation to them and letting them know that I'm no different than they are. I put my pants on just like they do. I walk around just like they do. I'm no different than they are, and that's why I enjoy that person-to-person, face-to-face interaction."
More than 6,000 children and adults took advantage of a blue and sunny sky with pleasant temperatures to participate in a team trolley, tire roll, three-legged race, tennis ball relay and football toss. The event also included a fitness fair on the concourse that was presented by Saint Thomas Health and interactive booths and inflatable obstacles outside the stadium. T-shirts and tickets to the Music City Sports Festival (May 31-June 1) were distributed when participants completed their activities.
More than 6,000 participated in Nashville Mayor Karl Dean's Field Day with the Titans at LP Field. (Photos: Craig Peters)
"The turnout has been fantastic, and I think it's something the city needs to keep doing," Dean said. "It's a great way of communicating that message, and people love the fact they can get on the field here and love the fact that the players are here and signing autographs. It's just a good thing for the city, so you get good weather, a great facility like this, and then having the players here and all the excitement, it's a great event."
McCluster, who joined the Titans through free agency in March, said he enjoyed getting to meet Titans fans for the first time and the way they welcomed him.
"First and foremost, coming to Tennessee is a blessing. I like to be a part of the community and this is a great start," McCluster said. "I'm glad the mayor invited me out here and invited the kids out here to have a good time. It's fun to be a blessing among others."
McCluster said he used the opportunity to communicate the message he shares with his daughter about the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle.
"It's very important to get the youth active," McCluster said. "Obesity is real. If you get to them early, get them outside and running a little bit — technology is taking over so everyone wants to sit on their iPad all day — but to get out and have fun and run around a little bit is very healthy."
Dean said he appreciated help from the Titans and the event's sponsors in sharing that message.
"I think it's wonderful to be able to offer a free event that gets people more active and particularly kids," Dean said. "The Titans have been so generous in working with this event. I think it gets better every year, and this year, with the weather, it can't be beat. The goal is, as a city, we need to be doing more about health. We rank high in almost everything but we don't rank high when it comes to health and obesity. We know obesity is directly linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and these are things where we need to get our kids with good life habits and that includes exercise and eating well. This gives us a chance to get that word out."