NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans defensive lineman Karl Klug is old school, from his playing style to his … flip phone.
Hello, hello. Say what?
It's true. The seventh-year pro still uses a flip phone. And if you're thinking about getting him a fancy iPhone or Android for Christmas, think again. He's not hung up on the idea of upgrading.
"I've had a lot of people tell me every year they are going to get me (an iPhone) for Christmas," Klug said with a smile. "I politely tell them I would decline it or I would return it. I appreciate the offer, but I don't want one. I'll stick with the flip phone."
So what's his hang up?
"My idea there is if you have your phone in your hand and are always looking at it, it's like me carrying around an iPad all day, and I don't want that," Klug said. "I just don't want to have the temptation of having the Internet right there with you. I don't want it to be a distraction."
Klug's teammates are dialed into his choice of technology, and can hardly believe it.
On Thursday, in fact, one coach made a comment to Klug as they walked the hallways of Saint Thomas Sports Park. Klug had just put his black flip phone back into the pocket of his sweatpants.
"I retired the flip phone when I was in high school," Titans safety Kevin Byard with a smile. "I could probably still text on the flip phone, 2233, stuff like that. I think I could make it work, but if I don't have to, I won't do it."
Titans defensive tackle Antwaun Woods was asked if he knows of any other NFL player who still uses a flip phone.
"I don't know anybody in my life in 2017 who has a flip phone," Woods said laughing. "The last time I had a flip phone was probably in 2006."
"He's the only person I know with one," teammate Jurrell Casey said of Klug. "I couldn't deal it."
Klug is no phony – he's always been known for his tough, no-nonsense approach. Born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Klug went to high school at Caledonia High in Minnesota. He played in college at Iowa before being drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He's played in 107 career games, and has posted 176 tackles, 66 quarterback pressures and 21.5 sacks in his career.
Klug said he's carried a flip phone since high school.
And he's heard every one-liner out there in locker rooms.
"Guys can't really believe it," Klug said. "They are like, 'It's 2017. Get with the times.'"
Klug said when he explains his reasoning, however, teammates understand. Klug, a father of three young children, said he doesn't want to be distracted at home.
"I try to set an example for my kids," he said. "If I got into a habit of being on my phone all day, it would be hard to break when they get older."
Klug reminds he's not completely in the dark, and disconnected – he has an iPad.
Not long ago, he used to take directions to locations across town with pen and paper, but he uses the iPad for that task now. He doesn't need an iPhone for music, he said, and he's pretty skilled at texting with his flip phone. He doesn't use the camera much for pictures either.
"It's not too bad, and I don't really care that much about music -- it's not a top priority for me," Klug said. "I only listen to music sometimes in the truck, otherwise I like it quiet."
All of Klug's teammates said they respected his phone choice after hearing the 411 on why.
"He's the type of person who doesn't need it," Woods said. "I think it shows he has some real discipline. Being in this age, in 2017, everyone is on their phone, texting or tweeting or doing something on social media. … I told him: I wish I could be like you. I spend way too many hours on my phone."
So, is Klug a flip-phoner for life?
"I just hope they keep making them," he said with a smile. "I've said before: If I had a job where I had to check emails more often, maybe I would consider it. But I am going to hold off as long as I can."
Titans players take the field for Thursday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)