NASHVILLE – Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan spent the first part of a Zoom call on Thursday being critical of himself, talking about how his early season absence because of a four-game suspension in 2019 caused a disruption in chemistry.
It bothered Lewan, who said he learned from letting those around him down.
He vowed to be better from the start in 2020, when he plans to be a better leader.
"If I was the coaches right now, I think I'd be pretty pissed off that I haven't taken on the leadership role yet," Lewan said. "I've done a poor job of stepping up as a leader and that's been by choice and a little more by fear than anything else because of how I have been bit in the past thinking, 'I don't want to be something I'm not'.
"And now, realizing who I am and realizing what I can bring to the team is really important. I owe it to this team to be a better leader."
Lewan, a first-round pick of the Titans in the 2014 NFL Draft, is set to enter his seventh NFL season.
During his career, he's played in 85 regular season games, with 80 starts. He's played in three Pro Bowls.
Lewan was named a captain at the start of the 2015 season, but when Mike Mularkey replaced Ken Whisenhunt as the team's head coach during the middle of that season, he was replaced.
A trip to the AFC Championship Game last season made Lewan realize how precious success is "and how short this career can really be and how much you need to make the most of it."
"If I can be a better leader for this team, it's going to help," Lewan said. "This is my seventh year – I have made Pro Bowls, I have had a certain amount of success in this league that can help out a lot of other guys. For a while I think I shied away (from being a leader) a little bit. When I was at Michigan I was a captain and there was a piece of me that I lost, trying to be that All-American guy. Then I come in here and Ken makes me a captain here and I was trying to be what I think people needed me to be and Mularkey came and stripped the "C" (patch) away. Whether that was right or wrong it doesn't really matter. I think I was just trying to be something that I wasn't.
"Now that I am more grounded and know who I am as a person and know what I can give to this team and in this whole career of mine, it is important for me to take on a bigger leadership role – that is important. It is going to help the team and that is the most important thing. … I look forward to being a good leader for this team."
Titans Online looks back at offensive tackle Taylor Lewan's 2019 season (Photos: Donald Page)