NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In his first NFL game, Sharif Finch recorded his first NFL sack.
It was a dream come true.
Only something – make that someone -- was missing.
Finch, an undrafted Titans rookie linebacker with plenty of promise, lost his father just days into Titans training camp.
Last Monday, Finch attended his father's funeral. On Thursday night at Lambeau Field, he suited up for the Titans, and played with his mother and father on his mind.
"It was emotional. It was tough, man, it was real tough," Finch said after practice on Monday. "But at the end of the day, I am religious, I have God on my side. And I know I have my mom and dad watching over me now.
"I've got my angels with me for sure."
Finch's father, Gregory, died of a heart attack on July 30. His mother, Wendy, passed away in 2015 after battling breast cancer.
Gregory Finch had 21 children. The family leaned on one another for support at the funeral on Monday.
Sharif Finch, who starred at Temple, missed several days in training camp to be with his family.
"Everybody came to the funeral," Finch said. "But everybody was ripped to shreds. It was just hard, man. I had to be there to comfort my sisters, and my brothers had to be there to comfort me. It was a joint effort, and it was hard.
"The game on Thursday, it was emotional. My pop's funeral was Monday, and I had to play three days after his funeral. I was finally getting a chance to play in an NFL game, which was a dream of mine, and my mother and my father … They didn't necessarily get to see it in the physical world, but spiritually, I know that are watching."
Finch, who recorded 14.5 sacks, 32 tackles for a loss and five forced fumbled at Temple, has been impressive for the Titans in training camp. Coaches like his aggressive style of play.
Against the Packers, Finch raced into the backfield and sacked Packers quarterback DeShone Kizer. He was credited with two quarterback hits on the night.
Finch looked into the heavens and pointed to the sky with both hands after the sack.
"My mom and dad were my support system, and they helped get me to where I am today," Finch said. "I know my dad is watching me and my mom is watching me, too. So I want to do it for them."
The Titans take the field for Day 14 of training camp practice on Monday, Aug. 13, 2018 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)