NASHVILLE – Titans safety Kevin Byard got a flashback picture on his iPhone recently and he hardly recognized himself.
The photo was from 2017, taken with his dad following a game at Nissan Stadium.
"I felt like I had a gut," Byard said with a smile on Wednesday. "I don't feel like I was heavy or nothing like that, but my body looks so much different now."
Five years later, and heading into his seventh NFL season, Byard is enjoying his new look.
He has a new haircut, short and tight.
And, in Byard's mind, he has a new body, leaner and sleeker.
Byard, who turns 29 later this year, said it's all by design.
The Titans and Byard hope the redesigned look leads to more solid play in 2022.
"I wouldn't necessarily say it's the older I get. I feel like the more wisdom I have now, I know you have to eat right, try to eat right, year-round," Byard said. "Taking care of you body, doing all the rehab stuff not just in the building but outside the building as well. I am always trying to take of my body year-round. That is just my mentality, always staying in it. Pretty much not let my mind get too far away from ball. I am always locked in on ball. Even if I am not in the building, I am doing all the little things.
"With the haircut, my body feels good. I've been doing really great with my diet and everything. So I feel fast, feel great, and I'm excited to be out here with the guys."
Byard, who returned to the Pro Bowl in 2021 after racking up five interceptions and 88 tackles, detailed his diet and offseason approach on Wednesday after coming off the field following the team's fourth OTA of the offseason.
The former MTSU star said he weighed around 215 pounds when he first came into the league in 2016. Today he's around 210 pounds, but he feels much lighter, and faster "and it's a way different 210, 211."
Byard said in 2021 he noticed a big difference on the field when he had a great week on his diet, and a so-so week. So, he's gotten even more serious.
Part of his diet plan includes a chef who was hired to cook all of his family's meals. It also includes a lot of berries, and intermittent fasting. It doesn't include cookies and ice cream.
"I still eat meat, but not a lot of red meat," Byard said. "Mainly fish, chicken sometimes, vegetables, not a lot of carbs at night. I am doing an intermittent fasting-type deal where I don't really eat foot until like 11 a.m. and the last meal of the day stops at like at 7-7:30 p.m. In the morning time I am eating berries and stuff like that. It keeps me light and helps me recover more overnight.
"Having a better diet, eating more clean, and not eating a whole lot of fast food. (I'm) just staying in tune with my body all the time and I feel like it helps on the field as well. … As I am getting older, I definitely feel being lighter, being faster, that's the name of the game."
Byard, whose 23 interceptions since the 2017 campaign ranks behind only Xavien Howard (27) and J.C. Jackson (25), is using the offseason to help prepare himself for the fall.
He'll be back on the field for another OTA on Friday.
"Me personally, I am a guy who likes to have reps, likes to get in reps," said Byard, who was also named All-Pro for the second time in his career in 2021. "I want to be out here. I love playing ball, I want to be out here playing ball with the guys. And, the mentorship of the young guys, (them) seeing a vet out here, working hard, busting his behind.
"And I am still learning. I don't think there's every going to be a time as I play in this league that I am not going to learn and (try and) get better, doing little things, add small things to my game. I am always trying to learn, always trying to get better."