CANTON, Ohio, --** Some players had video cameras, others snapped photos. It was a special day, a unique moment in time as the Tennessee Titans experienced the rich NFL history that the Pro Football Hall of Fame has to offer.
Wearing a throwback Walter Payton jersey, linebacker Keith Bulluck was in awe as he entered the facility. Team owner K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr. was there to greet the team, shaking each player's hand and wishing them luck for Sunday's preseason opener vs. Buffalo.
"It was neat having Mr. Adams there," Bulluck said. "I'm sure it meant a lot to him being that he is one of the founders of the AFL. His team is still going and it's one of the strongest teams in the NFL."
The NFL's amazing, rich history was apparent to each player, rookie or veteran.
"As soon as you walk in, they hit you with tradition – old and new. It was cool when I walked in and saw all the busts up there," Bulluck said. "There's so much information here about the game that we've been blessed to play because of the people that came before us. It was definitely very interesting and a cool experience."
Adams wanted to be here for his team as part of the 50th celebration of his franchise and founding of the American Football League. Early on, he was taking in an exhibit that featured two trophies from the Houston Oilers' pair of championships from 1960 and 1961.
"It means a whole lot because of this being the 50th anniversary of the original American Football League," Adams said, glancing at the showcase. "This case represents all of the years back then. We've had a lot of good teams over the years. We were in the playoffs 21 out of the 50 years. We also lost some close games. The original league – the AFL – deserves a lot of recognition. That's what we're celebrating here this weekend."
Adams, originally part of eight-person group called "The Foolish Club" that founded the AFL, was on hand to also honor Bills owner Ralph Wilson, who was enshrined into the Hall of Fame Saturday afternoon.
"Of the original eight owners of the Foolish Club, there are only two us left, Ralph Wilson and myself. He's 92 and I'm 86," Adams said. "It's good that we're playing this game to recognize the 50th anniversary. We've had some close games with them. I'll never forget the one game we had in Buffalo when we were ahead 34-3 in the third quarter and ended up losing. I couldn't get out of my seat afterwards. I was so worn out thinking, "It can't be, it can't be.' It was a terrible loss for us, but then years later we had the 'Music City Miracle' play in Nashville and won it back that time."
While Adams later made his way in the room featuring all of the enshrined members, his players continued taking in all of the rich history, including Oilers and Titans exhibits.
"I was looking at my man (Mike) Munchak, Warren Moon, and Earl Campbell. There's a lot of history with the Oilers. I used to watch the guys a lot, so being a part of the team and seeing a part of that history is great to see."
Young said witnessing the Hall of Fame makes him want to work even harder to one day be mentioned among the all-time greats.
"It's somewhere I want to end up being at, hopefully one day," Young said. "All I can do is pray about it, keep playing hard and take care of my responsibilities."
It marked the first trip for veteran center Kevin Mawae, who passed on the opportunity to come years ago while playing with the Seattle Seahawks.
"Looking back on it, I wouldn't change anything. I think I appreciate it more now that I'm older," Mawae said. "This place is pretty cool. It's like the chapel of football. It's a reverent place to be around those who spent their entire career doing this.
"I've seen more guys that I've played against that are enshrined. In fact, I saw four guys that I played against and there are four guys I was in the league with that are getting enshrined today, so that's pretty special."
Mawae took photos of all the centers that have been enshrined. Former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach was Mawae's hero growing up. As a college player, he always looked up to former Bengals offensive lineman Anthony Munoz.
As Mawae wrapped up his tour, he couldn't help but feel in awe as he acknowledged all of the NFL greats that have made their way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I just hope one day that I can leave my mark like those guys did," he said.
Decorated Wrestler Adam Coon Aims to Pin Down Job With Titans
Coon practiced with the Titans for the first time last week. It was Coon's first time on a football field since playing high school football. Titans HC Mike Vrabel reminded everyone Coon isn't the first wrestler attempting to establish himself in the NFL.
Weekend Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions From Titans Fans
Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt tackles questions from Titans fans following the practice field debut of veteran receiver Julio Jones.
QB Ryan Tannehill, WR Julio Jones Work to Get On Same Page With Titans
Tannehill threw passes to Jones in Thursday's OTA, and the two began building chemistry they hope will pay off this fall.
Veteran WR Julio Jones Excited About New Chapter With the Titans
New Titans receiver Julio Jones, acquired from the Falcons in a trade over the weekend, spoke to reporters in Nashville for the first time on Thursday during a video conference call.
Observations From Thursday's Titans OTA, Which Included the Practice Field Debut of WR Julio Jones
The Titans hit the field at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Thursday for their ninth day of organized team activities this offseason. Receiver Julio Jones, acquired over the weekend in a trade with the Falcons, practiced for the first time with his new teammates.
Titans Reach Deal with 4th Round Pick Rashad Weaver
Weaver (6-4, 259) was a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (presented to the national defensive player of the year) after starting in nine games at defensive end. In 2020, Weaver totaled 35 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He led the ACC in sacks per game (0.83 avg.) and tackles for loss per game (1.61 avg.).
Titans WR A.J. Brown Should Benefit From the Arrival of Julio Jones
Brown was named a Pro Bowler in 2020 after his second straight 1,000-yard season. In 14 games last season, Brown caught 70 passes for 1,075 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his first two NFL seasons, Brown has 2,126 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.
Julio Jones to Wear No. 2 With the Titans
Jones, who wore No.11 during his 10 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, turned down new teammate A.J. Brown's offer to take No.11 from him. Jones wore No. 8 at the University of Alabama.
Tuesday Mailbag: Titans Fans React to the Acquisition of WR Julio Jones
The Titans traded for former Falcons receiver Julio Jones over the weekend. In this Tuesday's Titans mailbag, fans share their thoughts on the move.
Titans Safety Kevin Byard: Julio Jones is Walking Into a Winning Culture
On Monday, Byard met Jones at Saint Thomas Sports Park when he arrived in Nashville and met with many of his new teammates, coaches and other team officials.
Adding Julio Jones Provides a Big Boost, But Titans Know It's Time to Put in the Work
In trading for the former Falcons receiver, the Titans have now assembled a trifecta of weapons as recognizable as any threesome in the NFL in running back Derrick Henry, receiver A.J. Brown, and Jones. Plus, the team has a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill who has played at a Pro Bowl level since arriving in Tennessee. But the players know it's going to take more than names to win games.
Titans WR A.J. Brown, QB Ryan Tannehill Fired Up About the Addition of WR Julio Jones
Brown has long been an idol of Jones. In fact, after a game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium during the 2019 season, Brown exchanged No.11 jerseys with Jones while saying he models his game after the seven-time Pro Bowler. Brown said he picked No.11 in the NFL because of Jones after wearing No.1 at Ole Miss.