Titans DL Jurrell Casey Feels the Love on the Day He Retires From the NFL

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NASHVILLE – Jurrell Casey took one last lap at Nissan Stadium on Thursday.

Following his retirement press conference, one he vowed not to cry at, the Titans legend returned to the locker room he used to get suited up in before games. Outfitted in a blue sports coat, he tried his Titans helmet on one last time.

From there, Casey made his way down the tunnel, and onto the field where he used to sack quarterbacks, inspire teammates, and give Titans fans 99 reasons to cheer.

And, once there, he looked up at the video board to watch one video tribute after another from his friends.

Brian Orakpo, Derrick Henry, Nate Washington, Jeffery Simmons Kevin Byard, Derrick Morgan, DaQuan Jones, Jayon Brown, Jason McCourty, Michael Griffin, Marcus Mariota, and Wesley Woodyard all thanked and congratulated Casey while telling him how much they respected him as a player, a husband, a father, and a friend.

It brought a smile to the face of one of the greatest Titans in team history.

"It's special," Casey said. "What a special day."

After 10 NFL seasons, nine of which were spent with the Titans, Casey officially retired from the NFL on Thursday at a press conference at Nissan Stadium.

After 10 NFL seasons, nine of which were spent with the Titans, Casey officially retired from the NFL on Thursday at a press conference at Nissan Stadium.

During his distinguished career with the Titans from 2011 to 2019, Casey was a five-time Pro Bowl selection, a six-time defensive captain and a two-time Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee. He ranks seventh in franchise history with 51 sacks—second only to Jevon Kearse (52) in the organization's "Titans era" (1999 to present).

Casey, his wife, Ryann, and his two young boys by his side, went down memory lane on the day the team celebrated him.

He recalled his favorite games and plays, and what it meant to play for the Titans.

Titans General Manager Jon Robinson told a story about him first scouting Casey when he was coming out of college at Southern Cal, and then when the two crossed paths at a gas station in Metro Center not long after he'd joined the team.

"As I got to work with him, his passion for the game, his dedication to his teammates, his leaderships skills, and certainly his dominance on the field," Robinson said of Casey. "You could see it week in and week out. And for as much as he did on the field, he did even more for the community. He's just an outstanding role model, a giver of his time, a giver of his money, a giver of his effort to the people of Nashville.

"We are blessed to have him here, and blessed to immortalize him, I guess you could say, as a Titan for life. Congratulations Jurrell on an outstanding career."

Titans Vice President of Broadcasting Mike Keith talked about what Casey meant to everyone off the field.

Casey was twice recognized as the Titans Community Man of the Year, and with that honor nominated for the league's Walter Payton Award in 2016 and 2018.

"Certainly, he was there on Sundays, certainly we saw him in the community, but I'm telling you, behind the scenes Jurrell Casey was a Titans great," Keith said. "In every way he was a Titans great."

Casey kept it all together in the press conference, where teammates Morgan and Byard heard Casey talk about his career, while hearing others talk about him. Titans linebacker Jayon Brown also showed up to pay his respects.

And, with his family by his side, Casey had a big smile on his face as he toured his old stomping grounds one final time. Earlier, he thanked Titans fans for supporting him over the years.

Casey concluded his career with the Denver Broncos in 2020. Counting his time in Tennessee and Denver, where he played his final season, he started 140 of his 142 career NFL games, totaling 686 tackles (coaches' tally), 51 sacks, 59 tackles for loss, 19 passes defensed, eight forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

"I just want to say thank you to the organization first and foremost," Casey said. "I also want to say thank you to the Lord. Without his blessing, without his hard work, shaping me, creating me, I wouldn't be here. And the things that he instilled in me, I get that from my mother.

"I am proud. I am nowhere near sad (about retiring). There is not one bit of sadness in me at all. I made the decision on my own, that is the blessing of it all. It is a feeling I always wanted to have, to be able to walk away from this game on my own accord. ... It was a hard decision to retire, but this was the best decision for me and my family, to take our focus somewhere else. I've done everything I possibly could in this game, and now I'm going to focus on life outside of football."

A look back at defensive tackle Jurrell Casey's nine seasons in Tennessee. (Donald Page, AP Photos, Donn Jones)

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