NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There's a story behind how linebacker Kamalei Correa ended up with the Titans, and it's pretty simple.
Titans general manager Jon Robinson saw a need at the position, and he saw a player with a lot of potential in Correa. So he worked out a trade with the Ravens last week to get him in Nashville.
"We'll put him out there and coach him up," Robinson said of Correa. "The reps that he gets, he'll earn them."
There's also a story behind Correa's new uniform number – 44.
It's pretty simple, too, and kind of humorous.
"I was No.8 in college. So I guess 4 plus 4 equals 8," Correa, who was initially outfitted in No.46 in Tennessee, said with a smile. "Shoot, it's kind of crazy how it all worked out — Marcus is No.8, and we went to high school together and all that."
Yes, Correa has been reunited with Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, his former high school teammate at St. Louis School (Honolulu), in Nashville with the Titans.
And after being acquired in a trade last week, Correa is on a crash course to learn the defense, and get up to speed. Because of injuries to others at the position, there's a chance he could be be needed to play a good bit on Sunday in the team's season opener against the Dolphins.
So far, the Titans say he's made a nice first impression.
"He's been good," Titans outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen said. "He is in shape, and I think he is pretty smart. I think he can play both positions (inside and outside), so there is some position flexibility there for him. I have been impressed with him so far and just his mental makeup, to be able to come in and contribute early on, that is definitely going to be good for us."
Titans coach Mike Vrabel called Correa "a versatile piece for us."
And he thinks he's plenty motivated.
"Just like anybody else, you get another opportunity and you go and try and impress the new team, the new bosses," Vrabel said of Correa. "Sometimes a fresh start can help a lot of people."
A second-round pick (42nd overall) by the Ravens in the 2016 NFL Draft, Correa has played in 25 career games, with four starts. His statistics include 11 tackles, one forced fumble and eight special teams stops. An all-conference performer at Boise State, Correa totaled 27 starts and 40 games over his three-year college career. Correa totaled 110 career tackles, 20 sacks, 31.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles for the Broncos.
Correa (6-3, 241) has played bot inside and outside linebacker in his career. He was coached in Baltimore by Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees in Baltimore.
Correa said his first week has gone well in Tennessee, where the Titans are dealing with injuries to outside linebackers Derrick Morgan and Harold Landry. Both players were limited in Wednesday's session.
"I'm just getting the small things dialed in on the playbook, and just learning what these coaches have in mind for me and have in store for me," Correa said. "It's going good. We have a great group of guys here, and a great coaching staff."
Correa said he'll be ready to play. Correa also said the defense in Tennessee is very similar to what he worked in back in Baltimore, aside from some small nuances, and that's made the transition smoother.
"Shoot, I am guessing that is why they brought me here, to play," he said. "So it is my job to be ready, and be prepared, and be ready to get after it every single day."
As for life off the field, well, he's still settling in.
Correa still lives in a hotel that houses other young players.
He said a former Titan and current real estate agent is helping him find a more permanent place to live.
"I was to give a shout out to Marc Mariani," Correa said. "He is helping me find a house here."
His buddy, Mariota, has made things easier, too.
The 808 connection is a strong one.
"Marcus, he has definitely already made it feel like home for me," Correa said. "Just to see one of my brothers here, it's been great. Because Marcus, he really is a brother to me, not just a teammate. It's hard to find a better guy.
"So far, everything has been great."
TitansOnline.com looks back at the first two NFL seasons of LB Kamalei Correa, the newest Titan via trade with the Baltimore Ravens.